At a tender age, Stani shows the way in farming
Irafasha Gadi steadily holds the hosepipe as he waters vegetables, bracing the scorching sun at Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County, in Kenya.
Irafasha, aka Stani,18, is a Burundian refugee farmer and member of the Shamba la Eden (Garden of Eden) farmers’ group. This is a group supported by AAH Kenya. Stani hails from Nyanzarek, Eastern Burundi, and is the last born in a family of nine.
“I came to Kakuma on 14 June 2014 following the political upheaval in my country that forced me to flee and seek refuge. It took me about four months to arrive here. I am thankful to be alive even though some of my family members were killed, while others are yet to be traced,” he reveals.
The luscious-growing green vegetables are a sight he was familiar with for most of his teenage years, growing up in Burundi. Somehow, Stani maintains a sense of hope that he can still rebuild all that was lost as a result of the conflict in his country.
Driven by his passion for farming, Stani teamed up with 10 other Burundi nationals and began the Shamba la Eden Farmers’ Group. “We started farming on a small piece of land, but when we saw the yield was good, we decided to increase the acreage,” he says, adding that they have about half an acre, teeming with various vegetables and some maize. “However, we faced many challenges, including lack of capital. As a result, we approached AAH Kenya and requested support including water, equipment, seeds and technical skills.”
“In our first year of farming we recorded a profit of about Ksh 50,000 ($500) from the sale of our crops. Some of these earnings went into purchasing additional farm inputs, while the remainder was split among the members.”
“We are grateful for the support we have received from AAH Kenya, though we are still faced with challenges such as lack of enough water for irrigation,” he says.
The group also need support with the rehabilitation of the shallow wells. “Through our joint efforts, we envision being the largest supplier of vegetables in Kakuma and its environs.”