Permaculture school garden for physically and mentally handicapped children

The Supa Inclusive School is located in one of the poorest regions of Nepal in the Far West (Kailali District) and gives around sixty children, some of whom are physically and mentally handicapped, access to education. The children live in the school building all year round. Although the region is in a warm climate zone, the children used to get neither vegetables nor fruit. All children come from very poor families; the parents can therefore make no financial contribution to the diet. However, there was enough space on the school property for a school garden.

Objective of the project:

  • Food security through year-round school garden
  • Vitamin-rich food as disease prevention and to combat muscle wasting
  • Training in the agricultural sector for children and young people with and without special needs
  • Increased financial independence, since seeds etc. only have to be bought once and the yield increases every year

The project started successfully in October 2017, trees were cut down, the jungle was cleared, roots were dug up with an excavator, and five truckloads of cow dung were worked into the ground. When planting the beds, it became clear that lattice cages would not deter the monkeys, so it was decided to build a garden house, with tight wire mesh from top to bottom to protect against the wild animals. The children were involved in the project right from the start, with the graveling of the forecourt, laying out the paths, the beds, planting and daily watering. They enjoy it very much and take care of the plants with passion under the supervision of the gardener. In January 2018, the first harvest of spinach, potatoes, chili and cabbage was brought in due to the mild winter. With luck, the garden will produce up to three harvests a year.

In addition, the volunteer team built a chicken and goat coop together with the children and bought the animals, so milk and eggs will further enrich the children’s menu. Some of the beds have been converted into raised beds so that children in wheelchairs have better access and do not have to sit on the ground to look after the plants.

The fruit and vegetables are produced in a natural and sustainable way, for example cow manure from the surrounding farms was used for fertilization in the beginning, now part of the chicken manure is used as fertilizer, and the chickens in turn eat the garden waste. Precious irrigation water is saved by covering the floors with chopped, home-grown rice straw. A small portion of the plants are left unharvested and used for seed production. The children benefit from all these methods because they learn step by step how the cycle works.

Project sponsor:                Chay Ya Austria

Project partner:                Chay Ya Nepal

Funding year:                   2017 – 2021

Project No.:                       74-17bi

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