Maria Mchele Mwasonge used to sleep on a rag on the floor with her five children.
But then she met Mwanaidi Rhamadani, a trained female farmer in her home of Mwasonge, Tanzania. Mwanaidi told her about a new kind of crop that was bred just for their region – the orange sweet potato, rich in vitamins and nutrients – and Maria jumped at the chance to learn more. She discovered the best seeds to grow on her small patch of land, the smartest ways to use water and how to split one vine into two. She even learned how to get the best price for her potatoes at market.
Today, thanks to support from global partners, Maria sells a lot more than just potatoes. “Now I sell seeds, chips, biscuits, doughnuts, flour, even pancakes,” she says, “all made from sweet potatoes.”
In fact, programs like this have helped farmers like Maria increase their income by up to 400% and she’s using this new income to send her children to school and build a new, sturdy home. Maria and her children won’t have to sleep on a rag on the floor any more.
“I work happily knowing that I will be getting out of poverty by doing what I’m doing. And when I sleep, all I think about is the potatoes,” she says.
Maria’s now teaching other farmers exactly what she’s learned. And she’s even helping her community to get healthy. The town’s health centre has said that, because kids are eating more nutritious food, there’s much less malnutrition amongst Mwasonge’s children under five.
Maria’s helping to feed her family, her community and her entire nation for the long term.
Read more inspiring stories about how smart, effective aid is enabling poor people to work their way out of poverty on ONE’s living proof website
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