The south of Zimbabwe is arid and prone to droughts, leading to failed harvests and acute hunger for many people.
Unable to access clean and reliable water sources means many struggle to harvest even their strongest crops or provide safe drinking water to their families.
Working closely with the community, Christian Aid partner, Dabane Trust, has helped to build a sand dam, transforming not only their harvests but the life of the whole community.
Thanks to the sustainable farming techniques being taught by Dabane Trust, families are able to grow a range of crops to meet their own needs and even have a surplus to sell.
Zuzeni and her family enjoy a rich and varied diet thanks to the sand dam
Zuzeni Nyathi and her husband Jabulisa Ndlovu have experienced first-hand the life-changing impact of Dabane Trust’s work.
As members of their market garden group they grow a wide variety of crops irrigated by the newly established wells linked to the sand dam, which provides a reliable water source and ensures a harvest for their family and the whole community.
The sand dam stores water deep under the sand of a nearby riverbed and serves the communities in the Gwanda region.
Taking months to build, with the location crucial and excavations deep, the sand dam is a brilliant achievement from which the whole community is able to benefit.
The contrast couldn’t be greater: whereas once they only had one meal of maize porridge a day, Zuzeni explains, ‘We now eat every day at any time – we are always full!’
Zuzeni and Jabulisa’s 11-year-old son, Brighton, helps his parents in their market garden after school and at weekends.
He loves getting the fresh vegetables from the garden and says ‘they are tasty and make my body strong.’
Zuzeni and Jabulisa no longer have to experience the painful hunger of the past. Instead they are able to provide a rich and varied diet for their family, ensuring that they can thrive.
The community’s plans have developed and with the support of Dabane Trust they have built a processing centre that buys their surplus crop, dries it and sells it back to the community - and further afield - in the dry season.
Sikhanyisiwe Ndlovu, known as Skha, is one of Zuzeni and Jabulisa’s neighbours and the chair of the market garden group.
Like her neighbours, she too has gone from struggling to feed her children to having a surplus to sell.
‘Life is now better because I can cultivate my garden,’ she says. ‘When I look at my children, I see that they are so much healthier than before.’
'Innovation and training have meant that many supported families across Gwanda no longer have to worry about tomorrow, or the day after. Hunger is firmly in the past and the future looks rich with possibility.'
Discover more stories of families helped in Zimbabwe
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