Irene Sarah an inspirational teacher and farmer during Covid-19
Irene Sarah is a teacher living in Uganda. As soon as Irene Sarah receives her paycheck, the first thing she does is put aside money for food.
“Being a teacher you have to wait for the salary. You have to stock maize, maize flour, beans…because you have to feed your family”
Irene Sarah stocks food products, this ensures that she has enough food for her family until her next paycheck arrives.
“Most of my expense was on food. I started thinking how I could reduce my cost” she says.
To reduce the cost of food, Irene Sarah started growing her own produce: ‘I started small, like growing sweet potatoes, putting up some cassava plants, growing some matoke, as well as vegetables’. At first, she did not have the knowledge that she needed to allow her to preserve her own food successfully. However, after attending training organised by The Hunger Project at her local epicentre (community hub), this all changed.
“…it widened my mind, it changed my mindset that alongside teaching you can as well do farming, reduce the cost of buying the food and increase both your saving and income as a family and as a person.”
From the training she received, Irene Sarah learnt how to store food for a longer period of time using preserving techniques.
For example, cassava can turn rotten once it has reached its maturity. To prevent this, Irene Sarah cuts it from her garden once it has matured, dries it and keeps it.
“I keep dried cassava so during times of scarcity I can use the dried cassava as flour for my family and sometimes I sell to people who make chicken food-stuff, and to feed their animals – that earns me a living and I am also food secure” Irene Sarah explains.
In addition to cassava, Irene Sarah can also process moringa. Before moringa leaves get overgrown and their leaves start to drop and rot, Irene Sarah makes a powder from the fresh and dry leaves. This is then used in “lots of different foods such as for tea or I can sell the powder,” Irene Sarah says.
The benefits of learning these new food production techniques are two-fold: not only does Irene Sarah now have another source of income in addition to her teacher’s salary, she is also food secure. This is especially important for times when crops and other sources of food cannot be guaranteed.
“I have enough food in the time of the harvest and even in time of scarcity”
Feeling inspired? Read other partners’ stories here.
If you would like to donate and support food security projects like the one run at Irene Sarah’s epicentre, click here.