Alternative Christmas

For those people who love to bless others

From hens that lay eggs and a new pair of shoes or a party with Fanta, and a smart uniform. You can help plant a tree, that will give us some oil that will help us to school some more girls and boys!

For details on purchasing a gift to bless others click here

The monthly cost to feed a family of five is approximately £33. This purchases 50 kg of maize (£8), 25 kg of mixed beans (£15) Salt, sugar, oil, and vegetables (£10).

Maize is the staple food and made into a porridge called nsima it is filling. The porridge rolled into balls is dipped into a sauce made with green leafy vegetables, beans, cowpeas. A poor family will usually only eat nsima with beans or vegetables. Rarely this sauce will contain chicken or fish, sometimes eggs are used.  It lacks nutritional value and mainly serves to keep off the hunger pangs.

In every village families manage a small garden for their own food. In a typical yield is 10 x 50kg bags of maize, six in a bad year, however many have only harvested 2-3 bags in the past few years. A 50 kg bag feeds a family of five for one month which means even a good harvest still results in a lean period every year.

Climate change has led to year upon year of desperately poor harvests and food shortages. Families without relatives for support need help to get through the increasingly longer lean periods and to recover when harvests fail.

Shine home-based support provides families with a portion of their monthly food needs which usually amounts to 7-12 days of food. Extra is needed during the lean months.

Our alternative gifts will provide top up maize and essential items such as soap for bathing for families who are connected to our programs. Many bring their children to our Early Years groups, where they receive a good start in their education, but for many, it is the fortified porridge given every day that is of greater importance. 

Some women have come together to manage joint maize fields and then share funds from sales to pay for the things they need. Fertilisers are expensive but are still used to ensure decent maize from the tried ground.

Shine also provides school uniforms, new shoes and bursaries to older children selected for secondary school. School fees left unpaid can result in the student being excluded. Most families are unable to keep up with the payments. Community groups at Shine Village provide training in alternative income generating such as making mats from maize sack and t-shirts, sandals from old tyres or cooking-fuel- briquettes made from cardboard pulp. Moringa trees currently growing at Shine Village will produce Moringa oil. This venture will become a small business and provide jobs and Moringa oil for sale to boost the local economy. Long term our Moringa oil will be exported to increase revenue for further community projects.

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