Imagine a 4-year-old girl, living in a remote village in Uganda. Her parents are subsistence farmers with no formal education and can only grow the food needed to feed her family.

There are no food crops left to sell at the market to make an income and her parents cannot afford school fees. By not attending school, her life will repeat the same cycle as her parents: simply working to survive. But, there’s hope.

In 2018, IREAD launched a pilot project in partnership with Amfri Farms in three Early Childhood Development centres in West Nile. Parents of IREAD Centres were trained and certified as organic farmers to cultivate chia seeds. Once the crops were harvested, Amfri Farms purchased the crop through its buy-back program.

The pilot project was a success with 295 farmers generating a total of UGX 6,714,000 ($2,354 CAD). The second season exceeded all expectations with a total of 604 farmers generating UGX 51,882,000 ($18,190) by the end of 2019 from chia seed production.

When people like you donate, cycles of poverty like this one are interrupted and young children in Uganda and Pakistan can access the education they deserve from the start.

“Before IREAD came, life was extremely difficult. I was growing food crops mainly for subsistence purposes. Despite selling some of the food crops after harvests, I could not afford the school fees of my grandchildren as well as financially sustain my family. My joy started when IREAD came and introduced the growing of chia as alternative means of getting money to supplement my income.”

Bania Sofi , - Parent at the Roel ECD Center