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Malik Ndao

Malik doesn’t know about the Sustainable Development Goals: But he’s meeting them.

IMG_7719 (1)Decades of backbreaking subsistence farming had left Malik Ndao and his family hungry and hopeless. He struggled for years, but the barren land with dying soils never produced enough to feed his children. Now he has a brighter future. A future filled with joy and hope. A future where his hard work in a Forest Garden provides a better life for his family.

Malik and his wife have five children. Their farm never provided enough to feed the family. He was often away for months, desperately trying to make additional money to feed his family.

IMG_7421He would search for work in markets across Senegal, attempting to earn tips by pushing wheelbarrows and carrying boxes. Sometimes hunger drove him to raid the local forest for wood and fruit, where he gathered anything he could eat or sell. He was barely surviving and never able to dream of a better life.

Then, three years ago, Malik and his wife started his Forest Garden project with Trees for the Future. Now they have a Forest Garden System with 2,463 trees. The trees yield something of value to trade or sell every day of the year!

Today, Malik does not feel desperate and hopeless. He no longer needs to leave his village to work. He is no longer away from his family for weeks and months at a time. Now his family, including his mother, wife and five children, are well fed.IMG_7309

Last year, their two-acre Forest Garden generated over $1,260 – five times more than what maize and peanut farmers earn from the same amount of land. Now, Malik is doing something he never even dreamed he could accomplish. He is putting money aside in savings.

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Scaling up? But there are many others like Malik we can help feed their families and build a future filled with promise and hope. 90% of his neighbors and friends are still skipping meals and chronically worried they won’t have enough to eat.

“I thank you to the point of wanting to dance!” says Malik.

Together we can make many more families dance.

Since 1989 Trees for the Future’s (TREES) has strived to improve the livelihoods of impoverished farmers through revitalizing degraded lands. We work at the intersection of poverty alleviation and sustainable agriculture. Primarily, we accomplish our mission by teaching our Forest Garden program for growing food and increasing incomes throughout to impoverished farming communities in East and West Africa.

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