by ANDREW HEWETT
We’ve all sat at the kitchen bench, plastic spoon in hand, ridiculous smile on face, desperately trying to get our kids to eat. Something! Anything!
We’ve all felt the worry that our child isn’t eating enough and getting enough nutrition at such a crucial stage in their development. Imagine if there was no food in your cupboard or your fridge to feed your child. Absolutely nothing. Imagine the panic you would feel about your child’s health and wellbeing.
For hundreds of millions of women around the world, this is something they struggle with every day.
Women actually produce most of the food in many developing countries yet still make up the majority of the hungry.
In Sri Lanka, food shortages are a way of life. Last year, flash flooding devastated crops and homes, affecting one million people who were just beginning to get their lives back on track after the devastating Boxing Day tsunami. On top of that, rising food prices have made putting food on the table a daily struggle for many families.
Oxfam is helping by providing families with the tools, seeds and resources they need to stop hunger and grow a better life.
In Anuradhapura in the country’s North, Chandrani was able to start a home gardening businesses with the support of Oxfam. With the right seeds, tools and knowledge, Chandrani has created a successful vegetable garden, growing beans, capsicum, beetroot, spinach, radish and more. She’s producing enough food to feed her three children and is earning an income by selling the surplus. Best of all, she and her husband Premachandra can now afford to send their children to school.
Meanwhile in South Africa’s Western Cape, Gertruida Baartman faces a constant challenge to feed her family. As the only breadwinner in her extended family of 12, she faces great pressure to ensure her disabled brother, young grandchildren and other family members do not go hungry.
Fortunately, she is now better able to provide for her family after starting her own cooperative in 2008 with the support of Oxfam’s partner organisation, Women on Farms. Women on Farms is helping local women gain access to land so they can grow their own food and earn income, as well as teaching the women about their rights in a country where black women traditionally have no access to land.