Vandi Sombie – Producing Gari as an Alternative Food Supply in Balaihun
Vandi Sombie is a medical Doctor in Bo District, where he works as a pediatrician. Because of his work, he is involved with many women and mothers who bring their children to the hospital for treatment. Some on a daily basis. “I see first-hand the suffering of these woman in taking care of their children. It was based on this circumstance that I first came up with the idea of starting a cassava farm that will support their economic empowerment.” The women and children that attend the clinic are hungry, poor, and underserved.
As a start up plan, Vandi has cultivated one acre of land and planted the three month varieties of cassava. Balaihun community has extensive high yielding land. He has established a small youth group of 50-60 members called “Kulama Women’s Group” in the community. The main objective of this group is to support each other during farming period especially with labour force. Together they will cultivate and plant the cassava and the do the harvesting together. The aim is to start the project in May, at the start of the rainy season. After harvesting, they will process the cassava into gari. The gari will then be packeted and sold in the community. The proceeds will be used to start a small micro-finance for the support of women in the group and the community.