A phoenix rising from the ashes

It is so easy to get frustrated by the misery that we encounter through our work; the seemingly endless problems that most people living in South Sudan face and the inadequate means to address the very real needs of so many, young and old, men and women. Just when the fighting between different tribes cease do the flood waters come, leaving much destruction in their wake. It is during such times that meeting with people like Ayor reminds us of why we are carrying the important work that we are doing.

Ms Ayor is a mother of six children, all under the age of 18. She lives at walking distance from the river Nile in Jonglei State (central South Sudan) and grows groundnuts on her small farm. She can barely make ends meet because even if the harvest is good (and that is a big ‘if’). The price she fetches for her groundnuts is low because everyone else is flooding the market with groundnuts at the same time, making it easy for buyers to settle for a low price. So while Ms Ayor has an income, she barely survives and certainly has nothing saved for the proverbial rainy day.

“just what I needed”

Ms Ayor: “just when I was contemplating whether I should borrow money to buy seeds to plant for the next season, my neighbour mentioned a new project that ZOA started with farmer groups.” She joined one of the groups and while she was grateful for the seeds and tools she received, she was in particular very happy with the training sessions. Ms Ayor was reminded of the importance of dietary variety for the well-being of her household. The seeds that she received would help her grow different crops. She highly appreciated learning about (post-harvest) techniques to preserve groundnuts for a much longer period enabling her to fetch better prices.

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Encouraging results

The sales of vegetables have already enabled Ms Ayor to provide her children with new clothing, including school uniforms. This encouraged her greatly and she is looking forward to the next groundnut harvest to put the post-harvest techniques into practice. Meanwhile she has been proudly sharing her experience with the other members of the farmer group.

The Pharus foundation is enabling ZOA to establish dozens of farmer groups that focus on helping farmers to enhance their livelihoods. The story shared by Ms Ayor shows that despite obvious challenges, projects such as these bring an enormous change into lives where people transform from barely surviving to facing the future with confidence!

Click here to read more about our work in South Sudan.