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The fruits of human kindness . . .
Beverley charity Jacob’s Well is launching a new project which aims to feed poor families in 30 villages in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Following a recent visit to the region, the Rev. John Beynon, the CEO of Jacob’s Well, was so touched by the poverty of the people living in the villages that he felt compelled to do something about it.
“We have already planted thousands of fruit trees in West Africa and have the goal of planting 1 million fruit trees in poor communities in the region”, said the Rev. Beynon. “However, during my last trip, as I was visiting one of our fruit tree plantations, one of the villagers asked me if we could help to give him seed so that he could grow more food for his family next year.
“The lifestyle of these people in the countryside has hardly changed for 1,000 years. People still live in mud huts, without electricity or running water. They only eat what they are able to grow. If the rain does not come, or if the harvest is poor, there is will not be enough grain to last until the following year. That means when it comes to the next rainy season, they sometimes have nothing to plant. People are so poor that they usually don’t have enough seed to plant in all the fields that are available to them.”
The Jacob’s Well’s “Seed Bank” programme is designed to help address this problem. At the start of the planting season, Jacob’s well “lends” to the villagers a large 100kg sack of maize. The villagers clear the land, plant the seed and look after the crop until harvest time. At harvest, they can expect to reap around 8000Kg of maize. “When they have gathered in the harvest, they then return a 100Kg sack of maize that they have “borrowed” from Jacob’s Well. The beauty of the project is that it is self-sustaining, and it empowers the local people to hel p themselves,” said the Rev Beynon.
On his last trip, Rev. Beynon met leaders from over 200 poor villages in Burkina Faso. From these communities, 30 will be chosen to run trials of the seed bank programme in 2018. If the trials work well, Jacob’s Well hopes to expand the programme to hundreds of other villages, so empowering many more communities across West Africa to be able to help themselves in the future.
To contribute towards this project, or for more details, you can ring the charity’s offices on 01482 881162 or visit www.jacobswellappeal.org. To give by sms, text 70070 with the message JWAS16, then specify the amount (£5, £10, £15 etc).
Donations can also be made at the charity’s shops in Beverley, Bridlington or Withernsea or at its offices on Swinemoor Lane, Beverley.
- Since 1984 the Jacob’s Well Appeal has been working in over 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Romania, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Philippines and Kenya, supplying medical aid, agricultural equipment and projects, educational supplies and projects, tools and building supplies, emergency disaster relief, and small business start-up schemes.