Fathers around the world want to love and care for their children. But for some fathers, the ability to provide for their children can be just out of reach. This is where organizations like World Vision come in to empower these fathers and provide them with the tools that they need to build a sustainable future for their family. In honor of Father’s Day, learn about one of these fathers and why he continues to farm for his daughter’s future.
By Stefanie Glinsk
Sweat drips from Isaac’s face as he plows his fields under South Sudan’s hot sun. He has been working hard, and the results are tangible. Just a few yards over sits his wife, stirring a boiling pot of fresh eggplant. Tebila, their young daughter, plays next to her, eagerly waiting for her lunch. The family has been eating nutritious meals for the past year even though parts of South Sudan have declared a famine.
Isaac, his wife, and daughter live a short drive from Juba, in Rejaf. Nestled on the bank of the Nile River, with lush green fields growing a variety of vegetables, it’s a beautiful spot. Here World Vision has set up farming projects helping locals diversify their crops, and with the help of petrol-powered water pumps, irrigate their fields.
“I now grow seven kinds of vegetables and get to sell the majority of it at the market,” Isaac explains.
Though his daughter is just a toddler, he’s eager to send her to school when the time comes. “I became a farmer when I was 13, and now, 10 years later, it’s still what I do,” the young father says. “I don’t want the same for my daughter.”
He’s originally from a small town in Central Equatoria but has been working in Rejaf for many years. “Once fighting broke out in my town, I decided it would be better to stay close to the capital,” he explains, adding, “I still don’t know what has happened to my parents. I haven’t seen them since the attack on my village.”
Farming has drastically changed for Isaac since working with World Vision. “I didn’t have irrigation before and most of my seeds died. My wife and I were very hungry back then,” he remembers.
For the past year, his high-quality seeds came from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. “Before that, I often bought bad seeds at the market,” he says. “We were very short on money.”
Isaac gets to go to one of Juba’s main markets several days a week, selling his fresh produce. “I’m even saving a little bit of money now,” he proudly shares.
With South Sudan’s soil being one of the most fertile in Africa, it is no wonder that Isaac’s vegetables are growing strong. “The Nile has enough water for all of us farmers in the country,” he says, pausing his work for a while and eyeing the lunch his wife has prepared.
“I’m thankful for the help we have received. When I look at my daughter, I know that I will be able to send her to school one day.”
As he starts eating, his eyes gaze over the neighboring fields where other farmers are working.
World Vision has supported over 3,700 households here, teaching farming skills and supplying seven types of vegetables. Isaac is just one of them.
There are many parents who are struggling to provide for their family, like Isaac once was, especially in the midst of a famine. In honor of Father’s Day, take a minute to send an email using our easy form. Thank Congress for prioritizing aid for the famine in FY17 and ask them to continue to show their support in the FY18 budget.
Photo: Isaac with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Tebila. Isaac has been a farmer since he was 13 and never went to school; he is now almost 24. World Vision has supported him this past year by providing training, seeds, and irrigation. The family now has a balanced, nutritious diet, and Isaac can sell his vegetables at the local market. © 2017 World Vision/ photo by Stefanie Glinsk