Domtila and Kevin have two very different stories, but they have one thing in common: the Milele Farm is keeping their families alive.
The Milele Farm is giving more than 15 families in the community food, plus it employs three people to work the land.
One worker, Domtila, is a widow with a disabled child and must take care of her 13 grandchildren. Domtila also keeps a plot within the Milele Farm to feed her family, and helps to find local buyers.
Kevin is a 12-year-old orphaned boy who works in the farm after school to feed his siblings. Milele is also paying his school fees so that he can continue his education.
It’s taken patience and a long-term focus for the Milele Farm to reach this point. When Frank and Lindah first bought the land in Kisumu to begin their Milele dream, the locals initially didn’t see much of a need for sustainable living.
“As soon as we started planting trees, people began to copy us,” Lindah says. “At first, the people said fruit would never grow in the place, but we’ve grown mangoes for a couple of years now. It only took us a year to start getting mangoes.”
“And when we started the veggie garden, they just watched and said it would never grow. But it worked, and then they didn’t have a choice, [but to try grow it themselves too]. But if Frank were to go out and tell them to plant veggies, they wouldn’t do it. They did it because they saw it working,” she says.
The main purpose of Milele it to give abandoned and orphaned children a home. But the vision is far greater than that… it’s to create a self-sustaining and thriving community, and the Milele Farm is only a small part of it.
Frank and Lindah are also mentoring the community to create micro enterprises. Locals are starting their own new business as part of a “pioneer” group testing out the concept. So far, three community members have bought motorbikes to start taxi services. Others have started “M-pesa” shops, which underpin the mobile phone-based money transfer, payment and micro-financing services in Kenya. Others are now running small household supplies kiosks.
To see lasting change, where a community takes a hold of a vision, takes time. But it’s exciting to see families transform, one veggie patch at a time!
To find out more about the Milele Centre, click here.