Global Roots Children’s Gardens: Badakhshan

Introduction: Baharak Children’s Garden Badakhshan, Afghanistan

Total cost: $10,000 per year, 32 children protected = $312 per child per year. 5K initial cost.

In 2010, we devised a food growing strategy that helped find foster homes for more than 20 orphaned children in Afghanistan. We proved that impoverished families will take in children as long as they come with food.

This spring, the number of street children we protect will rise to 182. Our current greenhouse, fruit orchard and hen house in Baharak are so abundant and our system of transparency so complete that we are finally ready to replicate our project in the important city of Faizabad.

We are now reaching out to US Aid, the World Food Program and other large organizations and agencies because we know that our Children’s Garden model in Baharak works and can be inexpensively replicated inside every village in war-torn Afghanistan.

The security metrics in Badakhshan are severe these days. The Taliban currently occupy a village just eight kilometers from our Children’s Garden in Baharak and it looks as though they will march again on Faizabad.

During the 2015 Taliban invasion of Badakhshan all of our children were successfully transferred by our project manager to a safe location in Faizabad. Had we not been there these innocent children would have been abducted — the boys turned into suicide bombers and the girls given away as war brides to foreign mercenaries.

The crisis faced by children in Afghanistan lingers on. We are poised to expand our successful foster child program from north to south.
Keeping street children safe is the paramount goal of our program.

Baharak Children’s Garden Expenses for 2016

Description Duration Unit Cost/Unit Total Cost %
BCG Manager 6 month $300 $1,800  

33.0%

BCG Worker 6 month $150 $900
BCG Worker 4 month $150 $600
Rent 6 month $300 $1,800 18.0%
Fuel Cost 5 month $250 $1,250 12.5%
Food Cost 6 month $200 1,200 12.0%
Tools/Equipment 1 month $450 $450 4.5%
Greenhouse Cost 1 set $2,000 $2,000 20.0%
Total $3,800 $10,000 100%

Our first drip-system greenhouse was constructed last year in Baharak and will produce vegetables year round.

Our vegetable gardens and fruit trees have thrived over the last four years — and the food we produce continues to help our children find loving foster families — but we have always known that irrigation is a problem and we have dreamed of building a greenhouse so that our food program can be a year-round operation.

Drawing on our experience with drip system greenhouses in other parts of the world we purchased a greenhouse kit for 5K and constructed a greenhouse with drip lines. A technical NGO provided a donation match, training and even seeds for our local team.

 

2017 Spring Update

We are so proud to announce that the Baharak Children’s Garden (BCG) just absorbed 50 displaced children!

The Taliban invaded Badakhashan in 2015 and have been active across the region ever since. They took a village not far from Baharak a few months ago and 50 children and their mothers fled for safety at our Children’s Garden.

The World Food Program (German-funded division) then stepped up to create a special refugee camp but WE now feed, educate and entertain these children three days a week. The food comes from our chicken eggs (100 egg-laying hens), produce and milk from two cows and honey from the local market. 

Here is a photo taken of the 50 new children that are supported by the BCG

More big news — we are excited to add one of the world’s greatest farmers to our team.

We knew from the very beginning that we would confront different challenges with our Children’s Gardens in different parts of the world, especially Afghanistan.

Meet Beth Holnacki — Global Roots lead botanist and plant pathologist

Beth, along with her family, owns and operates Goodfoot Farm, a small, diversified market farm whose mission is to provide unconventionally grown food for the local community. The farm takes a systematic approach in an effort to balance food production with responsibility for the local forest, field and river life. The farm is certified organic and Demeter certified Biodynamic® and works hard to minimize the use of off-farm and petroleum dependent inputs. Rather, the farm practices a method of regenerative agriculture that strives to emulate a natural system.  Fundamental to the success of the production system is the integration of animals for fertility and weed management, the selection of crops and cultivars for pest and disease control and the practice of “farmscaping” which provides habitat for native pollinators and natural predators of pests.

Along with growing food for people, Beth engages in on-farm research with scientists from Oregon State University to evaluate crop varieties for agronomic and culinary traits within organic production systems. She also collaborates with the OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems to identify areas for program development and support for small farmers.

Beth received her PhD in Botany and Plant Pathology from Oregon State University.

Why Global Roots?

Beth met our director a few years ago when Rick was buying Beth’s blueberries at a farmer’s market in Corvallis. Rick knew immediately that he was talking to a genius. Conversation eventually turned from responsible local farming to food security for children in places where malnutrition is a major problem.

We are deeply honored to have Beth on our team as we expand our Children’s Gardens from Baharak to other areas in Afghanistan and around the world where children need a nutritional and emotional boost.