Penda Plants Seeds with Love

March 5, 2024

Scroll through the gallery above to see Penda in her garden

In the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania lives a woman named after the Swahili word for love, Penda. With just one smile, we could see that Penda’s name fits her perfectly.

Like many of the refugees in the camp, Penda fled the intense violence in her home country, Democratic Republic of Congo. She shared with us that about seven years ago, her home in the DRC was invaded by bandits who demanded to see her husband. When they realized her husband was not home, they took her instead. She explained, “When we reached the camp, they told me, ‘We don’t want this woman, we wanted the man’ and released me. When I returned home, my husband had already left to Tanzania so [I] joined the convoy and departed.”

Since then, Penda, her nine children and her husband have lived in the Nyarugusu refugee camp, which is home to 136,478 refugees. When they first arrived, Penda recounted that life was not easy and one of their biggest struggles was having enough food to feed their family.

When Penda was invited to join CWS’ Vegetation Program, her husband was hesitant. “He told me, ‘Everything you want to farm is available in the market.’” When he saw how fruitful the garden was, however, Penda’s husband changed his mind. “Now, he supports me and we are working together. Even my children don’t want the vegetables from the market, they just want the ones from the garden.”

Since joining the program, Penda has grown a beautiful garden in her home which goes beyond feeding her family. With the seeds the garden produces, Penda is able to make an additional income and help her neighbors grow their own food. She also has enjoyed the environmental conservation trainings she has received in the program where she learns useful skills like how to create natural pesticides and methods for water conservation.

When we asked Penda what vegetable in her garden is her favorite, she laughed and said, “All of them!” One seed at a time, Penda is spreading love in her home and her community.     

CWS is grateful to our partners, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and Canadian Foodgrains Bank, for supporting this work. Click here to learn more about the work we do in our programs in Africa.