I have described GBA under our new programming direction as primarily an education NGO moving tentatively into development. Visits to PAID and other schools in January the connection between education and development are very clear. Students carry water with them to school, partial payment for their education. They study beneath a roof rent open and unrepaired following a large storm. They may only eat one meal a day.
Our goal of Giving Back, teaching service learning, community service, can combine education and development such that students better their community while they learn to be leaders in their community. We met Juselin on our second day in the DRC. His story highlights how great things often come with great difficulties.
Juselin came to PAID as an orphan. Three years ago he was adopted by Koko Katie, a "Grandmother" in Mpasa II. Mama Katie taught Juselin all about gardening and he was so proud to explain to us how he kept the production of the greens he planted throughout the year. He was proud of his work and attributed all of his learning to Koko Katie.
Now 18, Juselin knows how to garden! He brings pig manure from a nearby farm to amend hisraised beds, layering it with organic material and rotating crops for diversity and continual growing. Seeing his work we brainstormed what it would take to build a garden, a microenterprise business that could also produce food for the orphans.
For $150, Juselin estimates he could create a 400 sq. ft., with manure, and seeds/plants on-site at the orphanage. The benefits of a garden are many. Fresh vegetables can feed the orphans, can be sold at the market and teach the kids agriculture in a community setting, imparting useful vocational and leadership skills. He was game, wants to Give Back, to the orphanage that raised him and spread the knowledge learned from family that took him !