This April Awamu, an N16 based social enterprise set up by Hackney born Emma Scullion, have launched an International Sunflower Growing Challenge. Awamu (meaning 'together' in L'uganda) works with women in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, to ensure that orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities are cared for and can go to school.
Lack of food means that many of the children they work with go to school hungry, but you can you help them breakdown the barriers that stand in the way children getting the education that is vital to their future by growing sunflowers.
Inspire your children about the world around them
Awamu have created a free Sunflower activity pack that you can download and share with your children to support their learning and inspire them about the world around them. This is a global sunflower challenge with families and children of all ages, from all around the world joining in including the children you'll be helping in Kampala. You take part by claiming your awamu sunflower seeds when you make a contribution to their ‘Vegetable garden project’.
All the money they raise will buy soil, seeds, tools and training so the women Awamu work with can build gardens and learn how to grow healthy, nutritious food for the children in their care.
But hold on a minute (I hear you say), I thought was about education for children... why are vegetable gardens so vital?
The simple fact is, hungry children can't learn. Sadly, many of the families Awamu work with live on less than 50p a day, most of the children are lucky if they get one meal a day. Typically that meal will be a bowl of maize porridge, which contains little nutritional value.
Lack of food means most of the children they work with go to school hungry, so they're trying to break down the barriers that stand in the way of children getting an education.
As the kids live in an urban slum area there is little very little space available for growing food, no good topsoil and a lot of contamination from open drains. They've already piloted the first phase of gardening project in November 2014. They built 60 raised-bed vegetable gardens with mum's like Grace and it's having a huge impact on their health, education and income.
They were so impressed at the impact the gardens have had that we want to roll them out to other families in desperate need and also create a few extra gardens that we can use to help children like Jamila and Butambala (pictured below) in emergency situations.
Emma took this photo when she went to visit them at their home after hearing that their father had been hospitalised again and they were living alone. Their father has HIV and spends long periods of time in hospital, and with no other relatives to help, the children are left to fend for themselves.
The women Awamu work with are their only safety net in the community, they visit the children regularly to make sure they are well, are going to school - extra gardens would mean that we had food to help children like Jamila and her brother.
By taking part you're helping to ensure they don't go to school hungry which means they can concentrate in class... so sunflowers really change children’s lives! So get your green fingers into action, to start growing now.
Once you have your seeds planted please keep Awamu updated on the progress of your flowers by posting your photos and updates on their facebook page or using the hash tag #awamugrowoff on instagram and twitter – they'll reweet and share your progress with everyone else taking part.
The final measuring day will be September 11th. Two winners will be announced: tallest sunflower and widest face sunflower. Please send a final full-length photo clearly showing the height or width of the sunflower against a measuring tape. The winner will be announced on September 25th!
To visit Awamu's website click HERE
Awamu is a registered cic no. 7818944.