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Denis' story

Like many boys, 11-year-old Denis dreams of becoming a professional footballer. But a frequent lack of food means sometimes he doesn’t even have enough energy to play with his friends.

“I like to learn but I also like to play. I love football and my favourite team is Manchester United. I am a defender but it is difficult to play football when you are hungry. I just feel weak and sit in the playground.”

Denis lives with his parents, brother and sister in Kawangware, an overcrowded slum in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi. Most days the family only eat a very basic breakfast and dinner which includes tea, coffee or hot chocolate with mandazi - a local fried bread made from wheat - and sometimes leafy green vegetables like kale or spinach. Although his mother and father both work long hours, they cannot afford to provide the range of nutritious food their growing children need, and the lunch Denis is provided with at school lacks the important variety of ingredients that many of the pupils need to stop them from becoming malnourished.

For Denis and his classmates, this shortage of healthy food can make it very difficult to learn. Denis explains:

“I feel weak when I am hungry and sometimes I sleep when I do not get enough to eat. I feel that I can’t write, my stomach hurts and sometimes it roars like a lion does. It is quite hard to listen to the teacher but I am used to it and I try to concentrate.”

Farm Africa believes that children everywhere deserve a healthy diet so that they can grow well and reach their full potential. That’s why we're helping primary schools in Nairobi like Denis's to turn unused land into urban vegetable gardens that will allow students, teachers and parents to come together to grow nutritious, fresh vegetables. 

Denis is very excited to be getting involved in growing vegetables.

“I would like to work in the school vegetable garden and learn how to farm, sometimes life in Nairobi is very difficult so it is good to be able to grow your own food to eat.

“Some children don’t eat vegetables at home so it is going to be good when the school garden is growing because we will all be able to eat healthy food. It is important because it means we can grow healthy and contribute more in class, and I will be able to play more football.”

Thanks to your support, we've now begun growing fruit and vegetables at Denis's school, helping Kenyan schoolkids to get the nutritious food they need. 

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