Farming on Crutches Donation Wednesday 28 June - Sunday 31 December 2023 Lannock Manor Farm
FARMING ON CRUTCHES – TRANSFORMING DISABILITY INTO OPPORTUNITY
Farming on Crutches empowers those in Sierra Leone who have lost a limb to be able to farm organically. This transformation from disability into opportunity starts on a three-acre farm during a one-week course of training in both theory and practice. You can get an idea of what is involved in this short clip from the first training course. Participants leave not only with knowledge but also with tools and seeds and a small amount of cash to permit them to start farming at home. As well as being able to earn a living, they become changemakers in their communities, generating respect in the process.
Makieu Lahai (above) is now one of the trainers on the course.
Farming on Crutches is an initiative of the Sierra Leone Amputee Sports Association (SLASA), which emerged out of the 11-year civil war (1991-2002) when many children lost a limb through a machete or a stray bullet. In one of the poorest countries in the world, those maimed in this way tend to be left to fare for themselves and find it difficult to secure employment. In 2001, whilst living in a refugee camp in Guinea, Mambud Samai saw the need to support them and from these small beginnings SLASA grew and established a network of communities of amputees across the country, both men and women, who play football and support each other through fitness and fellowship. As you can see in this short clip, Mambud was recently recognised by CNN as a changemaker.
16-year-old Aminata Bellay (above) was trained in November 2022 and returned home to prepare her own garden where she works with her grandma to grow maize and vegetables.
With particular thanks to Groundswell, 45 amputees have now been trained. The hope is to train the remaining 300 members and establish a demonstration farm in each of the four districts. One of those waiting to be trained is Ebenezer John, seen here skilfully manipulating his crutch to prepare the land for planting groundnuts.
Central to the farming system is Bokashi, which in Sierra Leone uses green and brown material mixed with poultry manure and with microorganisms harvested from local forest soils. The possibility of helping trainees to establish a small free-range poultry unit to produce eggs, with manure as a vital bi-product to make Bokashi for home use as well as for sale, is under consideration
Amodu Amara also trained in November 2022 and is intercropping cucumber, maize, and okra - feeding his family, selling the surplus and sharing his knowledge with his community.
It is hoped to invite representatives from each of the 18 African countries that play amputee football to participate in a training course, take the lessons learned back home, adapt them to local conditions and transform the lives of their own members. If you are inspired to support Farming on Crutches, you can do so at the top of this page. To learn more go to www.farmingoncrutches.org