Stories of Change

Dina and her children in their garden.

Small space, big impact: vegetable gardens in Indonesia

Dina Datu and her husband Lukas live in the mountains of northern South Sulawesi, Indonesia. They spend most of their time working in their family’s rice paddies: planting and harvesting for a share of profits. During the most recent harvest, Dina split her time between the family paddies and working on other people’s land for pay to add to family income.

Despite their hard work, Dina realized that she and her husband didn’t have enough to cover all of their family needs and school fees. Even the extra income she was making from working for others wasn’t enough.

When Dina heard about a CWS program called DREAM in her area, she got involved. Among other activities, the program helps families like hers start vegetable gardens. Dina decided to convert a small plot of land near her house into a vegetable garden. Alongside other participants, she learned how to make organic fertilizers and pesticides, to use water wisely and to plant a variety of vegetables–not just one or two kinds. All these small things, Dina learned, can add up to a lot – including fresh, nutritious vegetables and added income.

Under Dina’s watchful care, the vegetables didn’t take long to grow. “It was nice to have food right outside of our front door — even some extra we sold to our neighbors,” Dina said. The extra money from the vegetables surprised Dina, and now she wants to plant more … and more. With money from her initial veggie sales, Dina bought more seeds and planted them in all the available land around the house and even around the family’s rice paddies. This second vegetable crop is nearly ready to harvest, and Dina is happy with the outcome of her hard work. In talking with CWS team members about her progress, Dina said, “You showed me new ways to garden, which helped me set myself up for success. I hope other mothers in my community will follow me.”

CWS team members enjoy knowing women like Dina who use and succeed with our support. DREAM is now helping about 200 women learn to garden with new information and skills … and empowering them to change their families’ lives for the better.