Planting Seeds of Hope: Solange’s Story
For Solange, a single mother of 11, daily life was a struggle. With very limited education, she had to piece together odd jobs —selling used clothing, cleaning houses—to support her large family, including her infant granddaughter. Even though Solange had some income,it was still a challenge to make ends meet, and the family often went hungry. But Solange’s life started to turn around when she joined an upcoming gardening and nutrition training at their school as part of INMED’s Healthy Children, Healthy Futures program in Brazil.
“My life is another now. I am grateful for that and I wish that other people could learn what I learned.”
She was fascinated by gardening and hopeful that learning to grow her own food could help her family avoid hunger. She volunteered to help maintain the school garden, and when she learned that another local school needed a gardener, she applied for, and got, the job. The pride she takes in this, her first formal employment, is evident—the garden she tends is bountiful and beautiful. Every month, to supplement the INMED stipend for her work, Hilda’s she receives a package of staple foods (rice, beans, etc.), which has kept her and her children from going to bed on an empty stomach.
Motivated by her own success and by seeing how important the school gardens were to the students—for many, the school lunch is their only meal of the day—Solange started to build other Thanks: gardens in her neighborhood. Other community members watched with interest— fresh food is a luxury in Solange’s community —and soon got involved in growing vegetables for their own families.
Solange’s tireless work caught the attention of the municipal government, which hired her to develop gardens in the schools that did not have them, bringing better health and nutrition to so many more children as she did for her own.