Revina Francis is a young single mother living in a small fishing village on Ukerewe Island in northwest Tanzania. She proudly maintains a plot of vitamin A-rich orange sweet potatoes, spinach and other leafy green vegetables. But it hasn’t always been easy.
Just three years ago, she found herself unable to complete secondary school having become pregnant. Abandoned by her child’s father, Revina had few options as a young woman in a culture where respect comes with age.
She found hope through participation in a local HKI homestead food production program. Revina was selected by neighbors as a volunteer Resource Farmer to help them in planting, growing and harvesting their own vegetable plots. Through this role, she has developed into a valued and respected community resource.
While attracting people to gardening in a village steeped in centuries old fishing traditions was initially challenging, through her creativity and determination, Revina now provides technical support to 14 gardeners in her area and their gardens are flourishing. She is also encouraged that more people in the community are purchasing the vegetables she grows, which helps her pay for things her two year old son Emmanuel needs.
“Honestly, I won’t stop gardening as it has changed me into a different kind of a girl in our village,” Revina told us. “Gardening has showed me that nothing is impossible regardless of age.”