So yesterday, the two girls led Vivian and me us to a small plot of land near the lake, about a 20-minute walk from their homes. There, they pointed to a few rows of tiny sprouts – the beginnings of skuma wiki, a green leafy vegetable eaten daily in Muhuru households.
One of the girls, Dot (age 11, 4th grade), lives with her grandparents and asked her grandmother to give her a small piece of land. Because her grandparents are already busy in their own garden, she recruited her friend from church, Eva (age 12, 3rd grade), to help start a garden. Dot asked Eva because she said many of the other girls were skeptical about the success of the garden. Eva, though, was glad to help. As she lives with her cousin since her parents died, it worked out well for her to take a “Step of Hope” with a friend instead of her family. She said she is looking forward to making her own money.
Dot and Eva planted the skuma together and now tend the garden twice daily – once in the morning and once at night. They expect the first plants to be ready next week hope to sell them for a total of 50 Kenyan Shillings. They plan to give Dot’s grandmother the money for safekeeping until they need it. When they have enough, they plan to buy clothes and shoes for themselves. Dot acknowledges that some insects might cause some problems along the way, but assured us that they will take good care of the garden so that it can be even bigger in the future.
While READY provides only basic information about budgeting and investing in addition to activities focused on mental health and HIV prevention, other organizations, such as the Population Council
(http://www.popcouncil.org/topics/fl.asp) are increasing their focus on programs that build adolescents’ financial literacy, especially for girls.
*We obtained permission before posting this story and photo.