IDP camps find hope in growing organic

By November 25, 2013

Burma (PRD/MNN) — For many of the farmers in Kachin state, pursuing their traditional livelihoods has become all but impossible since fighting erupted again in June 2011.

“We had enough food supplies when the fighting started and we first came to the camps. But now it has become very difficult to get fresh vegetables,” said Doi Sum Hlu, a mother living in Nhkawng Pa camp, home to 1,615 IDPs.

The organic farm project was started in November 2011 by Bridging Rural Integrated Development and Grassroots Empowerment (BRIDGE), a community-based organization. “It feels like we are back at our farm producing vegetables again, and [we] feel productive once more,” said Khon Ygee, whose deserted farmhouse is located in neighboring Kaw Thao Village, in the conflict zone.

The organic farms use natural fertilizers made from manure, leaves, and compost. The project is supported by Partners Relief and Development, an international NGO dedicated to Myanmar aid. “It’s such an exciting thing to do, rather than just handing them rice and blankets,” said Oddny Gunmaer, Partners’ founder and advocacy director. As PRD helps assist the organic farming project, the opportunity to share Christ is wide open.

Each camp has just over three hectares of land for organic farming. Any interested camp resident can join the program, and participants now grow 19 different types of vegetables, including ginger, carrots, cabbage, onion, lentils, pumpkin, and four varieties of beans. The food is distributed equally among the IDPs.

As the project continues, pray that the harvest will provide greatly for those in the community. Even though the people in the community are internally displaced, pray that through volunteers helping with the organic food project, Christ will be shared. Pray that an impact will be made on those who don’t know Him.

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