Before the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, Asher Isreal never liked farming. But the 10 year-old Class five pupil at Tender Care Junior Academy, Komarock, Naorobi County, says farming is how best she spends her time now.
She is among 44 children who have joined a network that helps them engage in productive activities, in order to keep them busy.
Founded in March, Fun and Education Global Network (FEGNe) started by recruiting children and engaging them through Zoom, an application used to hold meetings. The young participants use the opportunity to share their experiences about the coronavirus outbreak.
There are 22 Kenyans, the majority in the group, Neighbouring Uganda has 12 while Zimbabwe has 2 members. The other countries represented include South Africa (4), Ghana (4) and United States of America which has 3 members.
“Through this initiative, agriculture has become part of me. I wish we were studying it in school, because it feels good being in the farm,” says Asher. The young farmer says she is growing sukuma wiki (kale) and strawberry. She revealed that before the pandemic, she used to spend most of her time watching television. She rarely does that now.
Grace Mitchelle, who is 12 years old shares Asher’s sentiments on farming. Mitchelle, a Class six pupil at Acacia Green Academy told Young Nation that farming has now become a part of her.
“When I wake up every morning, I start by watering my spinach. After that, I take my breakfast and attend the morning Zoom discussions with other children in the group,” She says.
The online sessions run between 10am and 11am and from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm daily. Each child in the group who must be not younger than 7 years or older than 15, then shares the images of their plants and their progress, even as they wait for judges to select a winner at a later date.
“I hope to start harvesting soon. I intend to save the money I will be getting from the sale of the produce and topping up my school fees once schools re-open.
I have also learnt about spending money wisely. It feels good learning experiences from other children worldwide,”says Mitchelle.
According to the organizers, the initiative teaches children about the importance of maximising available spaces through creating modern manmade farms – like filling sacks with soil.
“The news about the numerous deaths on television were horrifying to watch. Thankfully, this has kept me busy as I wait for schools to re-open, ” says Suasan Lawi.
This article was first published by Sunday Nation on 27th September, 2020.