The Breakfast Garden Project- Sustainable Cambodia October 15, 2014We knew we would find so many worthy causes here in Cambodia we just wanted to make sure that the projects we donated to have the infrastructure to see the projects through to being sustainable. Our research led us to the province of Pursat to find Sustainable Cambodia and we were impressed right from the start. They do everything we believe in, they provide families with cows, chickens, ducks, fish ponds, pigs and vegetable gardens, all with training and long term support, they were made for us… Helping communities to become sustainable is no easy feat and Sustainable Cambodia were humble enough to share with us their failings as well as their successes. “We received funding to run a food supplement programme for pre-school children across 11 pre-schools, providing 385 children from 2-5 years old with a nutritious rice based porridge 6 days a week. The mothers of the children were to contribute to the garden in exchange for their children attending, unfortunately this meant there was no real ownership of the garden and once the kids moved onto primary school the garden dried up.” The Kindness of Strangers understands it is vital that young children receive a nutritious meal at least once a day to aid their growth and learning but this cannot be done by relying on international aid. Sustainable Cambodia, think they have come up with a long-term sustainable solution, to provide each school with a vegetable garden as well as a pond for fish and some chickens and ducks to provide eggs. Who would own/be in charge of the vegetable garden? The school and its teacher(s) will be responsible for the maintenance of the garden as well as harvesting and planting new fruits and vegetables and looking after the fish pond and chickens. The garden will be planted and grown on community land, so there will be no direct property owner or rent to pay, as it benefits the whole community. How is this sustainable? By growing their own vegetables, fish and eggs, they will not need to rely on donations. They will be able to sell extra produce at the local market. This extra income will not only provide money to buy more seeds and additional vegetables but will pay for the teacher’s salary. There may even be excess money which would be given to the village chief and put back into the community projects. What are the challenges in growing a vegetable garden? The climate is always a challenge here, the dry season causes problems for those farmers without water access, though we will provide water access as part of the donation. The rainy season also throws up challenges as crops are sometimes destroyed by flooding. What would the garden grow? Cucumbers, long beans, morning glory, rice, lettuce, pumpkin will be grown in the garden, fish and eggs will be provided too by a pond and chickens. In the porridge for the kids there are also carrots, pork, garlic, oil, sugar and cabbage which will be bought with money made from the sale of goods at the market. What happens now? This is just a pilot scheme. Sustainable Cambodia will take all their previous challenges and learnings into ensuring that this program works. If the garden can supply the food for the childrens breakfasts with enough surplus vegetables to supplement a reasonable income for the teacher, then the project will be deemed a success and the model will be used for major corporate funding and sponsorship. We are proud to donate $1000 for the pilot scheme. What does success look like? Sustainable Cambodia support 23 nurseries. If this pilot scheme is a success, then all 23 nurseries will get the funding for their very own vegetable garden!