Stories of Change


Mama Deni at her loom.

From barren land to a flourishing garden

Welmince Kase and her husband had an extra plot of land in their community in West Timor, Indonesia that they weren’t sure what to do with. They donated it to a local church youth group, but the group didn’t end up doing anything with it. So after a year of watching her land remain barren, Welmince decided to try something else. Knowing that she would have help from CWS, she invited nine of her neighbors who had young children to join her in cultivating the land. 

And thus the Oe’ayo farmers’ group was born.

Before the group formed, the nine families had relied on selling tamarind seeds during the June to November dry season. Often, this wasn’t enough money for the family to really get through the dry season. As parents struggled to cover basic expenses, children’s diets suffered.

This year, though, things are different.

When Welmince and her husband decided to help their neighbors start a community garden, they also petitioned the district government’s Food Security Service Office for a small pump to carry water from a well about 150 meters away. With the pump, their garden could be easily watered. CWS provided additional support by helping the group learn better ways to grow their vegetables: how to prepare the soil, different planting techniques, how to use organic fertilizers and pesticides and better harvesting techniques. 

“Before, this land was barren. But now, in just a few months, we have all seen change,” Welmince told our team recently. “Not only are there enough fresh vegetables for the families in the group, there is surplus for group members to sell! We have made 700,000 Rupiah [$50] already.” This is a great deal of money for these families. Our team is impressed by the success the Oe’ayo group has already had, and we’re excited to continue to work with the group in the future. We’re planning to provide more support in the community by working with women to form a savings and loan group to build more resilience against poverty. This work is all part of our Timor Zero Hunger program, the main goal of which is to reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition in families, especially those with young children.