A School Garden Gives Hope of a Better Life in the Congo

June 1, 2017 • Democratic Republic of the Congo
A woman prepares a meal from the bountiful harvest at the school garden.
Rachel Akotako Lonyoyo lives in the town of Komanda in the eastern Congolese province Ituri.

Editor’s Note:Samaritan’s Purse is assisting communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by providing schools with resources, training, and tools to start and maintain gardens. So far 20 schools have successfully maintained gardens as part of a food program providing 30,000 children with meals five days a week. The gardens also equip children and their families with skills for growing food to eat and to sell for supplemental income.

The various wars that took place in our country left many areas of Ituri Province desolate and without food and safety, so we left many years ago to escape the conflict. In 2006 we returned to our town of Komanda where we live now. Still, we heard rumors of armed conflict starting again in the nearby province of North Kivu.

In 2014 we began to receive many others in our town of Komanda. They were being driven here by conflict from places such as North Kivu, where towns were being destroyed by war.

Life Begins Again with a Garden

I was born and raised in Komanda. I returned here with my family to start again with them because it is our home and it is a beautiful place, but the wars have made it difficult to live. I am the mother of four children, and I did not want them to have to go without food. I wanted them to play and not to worry about what they would eat. We also needed to have food to help feed those who came here displaced by war.

When Samaritan’s Purse came to our town last year they told us they were going to help feed the children here. Now, a year later, my children go to school where they see all kinds of food in the garden. A variety of vegetables are offered to the students including cabbage, eggplants, tomatoes, and amaranth.

Now my children enjoy going to school, and when they return home they play happily and think about the food they will have that evening. It is because Samaritan’s Purse has helped plant this school garden that my children are very motivated and have a new outlook on life.

There is joy now, and the future looks hopeful.

DRC Projects
DRC Projects The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has faced a 20-year civil war that has left 5 million people dead and 2.6 million currently displaced. Samaritan's Purse continues to help survivors of the war by providing feeding, nutrition, and agriculture programs, along with other projects. In addition to meeting physical needs, we have helped rebuild churches and train pastors and Christians in the Word of God, giving them the tools to spiritually love and support their neighbors as they continue facing violence.

DRC Relief 013723