This month our money will supply nine greenhouses for eighty five foster children and their families in East Africa. This scheme is run by The Mango Tree, which provides this supportive work in Kenya and Tanzania. Apart from this work being aligned with our overall aims, The Mango Tree is a remarkable role model to all charities, because it manages to operate with very low running costs (around 1%).

The aim of the charity is to respect the traditional extended role of local families to look after orphaned children. The impact of parental deaths from AIDS, alongside persistent poverty for some groups in East Africa has placed a particular strain on this role. Families find themselves unable to send their children to school and all members become prone to malnutrition and preventable diseases. Under this burden, rural children drift into urban area and live on the streets, adding to their vulnerability.

Our contribution to the work of The Mango Tree will help to reverse some of these pressures on the families they work with. The focus is on self-sustainability, especially by increasing access to clean water and raising the production of local agriculture, livestock and fishing production. These efforts are targeted on those families most at risk of ill health. The economic model is to facilitate the establishment of micro-business (250 in this region is the target by 2014). The Mango Tree works with other charities locally to advocate for land inheritance rights as part of this aim of self-sustainability.

Building greenhouses with The Mango Tree will will provide a positive practical and environmental impact for these foster children and their families, and we look forward to sharing photos of them later this year.