She rattles off all the reasons this okra plant won't be eaten. Pointing to the long, green fruit, she counts them off like an old pro: firm, aesthetically pleasing fruit, early sprouting, handled heavy rain well. The list goes on.
If all these seem like good attributes to you, you're right. And that is precisely why 14 year-old Lucky won't be eating any of the fruit from this okra plant. These are all traits she has learned are worth saving for the next generation of okra – she'll use this particular plant for next season's seeds.
Lucky is part of a USC Canada-supported vegetable growing group in north-western Bangladesh with seven other young women. After only two months with the collective, she knows what to look for in a plant to grow for seed saving versus a crop to sell. Together they learn how to carefully prepare nutrient rich compost and save seeds from the crops they grow so they don't have to rely on expensive fertilizers and imported seeds. With the other women, Lucky is learning how to grow organic vegetables and market them in her community to gain an income that was not possible before.
Building on the decades of work you have supported in the country since 1971, USC Canada now focuses the entire Bangladesh program on small-scale agricultural training and support with 10,000 women under 30. This kind of long term partnership means generations of women have grown better lives for themselves and their families – and are even passing their skills down to young women like Lucky.
Shilpi Begum was a member of a USC Canada farming skills program before she married and started a family. She, and the thousands of other women who learned from the program, blazed an example for the girls who would come after. Today, Shilpi helps guide Lucky's vegetable growing group, mentoring the eight young women in the ways of farming and how to make a living from it. In just the past year, donor support allowed 151 women farmers to take a special seed saving course so they, like Shilpi, can take on leadership roles.
With your steadfast support, Lucky and 9,999 other young women are learning not just the best traits for an okra plant, but how to be the next generation of leaders too.
You can provide training to one woman for a whole year for a donation of just $10.00. Plus if you donate today - Giving Tuesday - by 11:59 PM, your donation will be matched by a generous private donor. So you double your impact.