School of Agriculture for Family Independence (SAFI)

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School of Agriculture for Family Independence (SAFI)

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Mtalimanja Village was built with funds from the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation and dedicated in 2007.

 

The village is home to the School of Agriculture for Family Independence (SAFI) and is focused on helping the people of Malawi learn better agricultural techniques to provide for themselves and their families. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and one in three people in Malawi is threatened by hunger every day. The majority of the people are farmers and live on less than one dollar a day. Named by the local people of Malawi, Mtalimanja means "long hands that give."

 

The foundation, in partnership with local non-profit organizations and civic groups, built an actual village at Mtalimanja to house 30-40 farmers and their families while they are educated in fish farming, drip irrigation, sustainable farming, forest conservation, tree farming, animal husbandry, nutrition and other subjects. Husbands and wives attend classes together and children are sent to primary school.

 

Families attending SAFI spend their second year of study back at home and continue to learn through an extension program. They implement their new skills and teach these principles to others, including their children, to ensure that the ideals of self-sufficiency will last for generations.

 

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May 2009 was the first graduation ceremony for students from the School of Agriculture for Family Independence. The graduation was nothing short of a celebration as graduates danced across the stage to receive their diplomas. The village has thrived during the past three years as residents have learned proper farming and irrigation techniques they will now use when teaching in their own villages.

 

Now, more than 180 peple have been educated at SAFI and have returned to their homes to teach others. Student crops yields have increased by an average of 700 percent.

 

"What is so significant about this program is that it's not about giving handouts," said Sandie Tillotson, member of the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation's executive committee. "It's about giving people knowledge, skills and hope. It's a real opportunity to become self-reliant and help others to do the same."

 

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