unfair farm rules deny food to poor tenant farmers

Illegal food?

Are basic human rights being denied on Zambian plantations?

Last March I visited a tenant farmer family in Mazabuka, Zambia, who had lost their 16 year old daughter to malaria because they couldn’t afford transport to a hospital, nor the proper medicine. The AACDP had helped the family start a small patch of corn to feed the family.

I was shocked to learn that it is customary on these giant plantations to forbid their tenant workers growing any other food for themselves except corn and pumpkins. (See post “Education Urgently Desired” 4/26/10)

Now the father of this family has been fired for growing corn “too near his house”. There is reason to believe he won’t receive his termination benefits from eight years of work. His monthly salary amounts to the equivalent of $75, barely enough to survive, but the end payments are supposed to accumulate and should be several hundred dollars. Not much, but enough to start a small business and get out from under the slave conditions of tenant farm work. After eight years of long hours and hard work, this man and his family of 5 children have been given 5 days to clear out, and every time he has approached management he is told that the man in charge from whom he would collect his severance pay is “away”.

Last spring I  became aware that farm workers weren’t allowed to grow food for their families, though they live in the countryside and there is plenty of land surrounding their substandard housing. I could not get a good explanation for this inhumane rule from anyone. I wanted to make this known then. Now that this man has been fired for growing corn, which is “allowed”, I am looking for ways to broadcast the existence of these cruel and unfair practices hoping that publicity will shame those responsible to change and the government to oversee it.

Can we write to the Zambian government to protest these inhuman conditions? Slavery benefits no one but the super rich. Is there no relief for the poor, no desire for fairness? Who cares for these people’s human rights?


Cross cultural craft event

Zambian-American joint quilt raises money for devastated family in Livingstone, Zambia

100 tickets, $10 a ticket.

We are raffling the quilt to raise money for the Moomba family in Livingstone, Zambia, who lost their mother and three grandchildren when a speeding car ran them over and crashed into their home.

This beautiful quilt began in Lusaka where the craft women there sewed panels of daily life. The panels were pieced and quilted on Martha’s Vineyard by women of the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury and other friends in the community.

Please, buy tickets. Call 508 693 4059 and ask for Marsha.

We can’t bring back their loved ones but we can help them rebuild their  house, continue their education, start a small second-hand shoe business and perhaps pay for a lawyer to find the man who is responsible. Without money there is no justice for the poor.


Zambian Baskets and Congolese Kuba Cloth

The African Artists’ Community Development Project will be hosting an International Craft Bazaar at the Grange Hall on Tuesday, August 3, from12  to 4.

On sale will be baskets, jewelry, carvings, textiles from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana and Niger. All profits benefit the indigenous people of these countries, including orphaned and disabled children. For information: Marsha Winsryg,  508 693 4059


Education Urgently Desired

by Marsha Winsryg

they aren't allowed to grow food for themselves on a farm!

stuck on the farm, and it's not even theirs...

This Zambian family lives on a giant plantation farm owned by a foreigner, who barely provides shelter and does not allow them to grow any food for themselves except corn and pumpkins. They are too far out in the countryside to be able to go to school because they cannot afford transportation.

Last year their oldest daughter, paralyzed from birth, died of malaria. The AACDP had provided a wheelchair for her, which she had never had before. After her death, we sent money for the family to grow a small field of corn and pumpkins. When I visited them for the first time last January, they proudly took me to their lush crop of corn, interspersed with pumpkin vines.

When asked why they didn’t grow other vegetables for the family, they replied that it was not allowed.

This policy cannot be legal, but wealthy landowners are not required to treat their farmers fairly.

Has not been to schoolin three years


We want to find a sponsor for Peggy, who has not been able to attend school since sixth grade. She will need a tutor to help her catch up to her age group, and will need to board at a secondary school in Lusaka. This will cost about $1000 per year.

This is her only hope of climbing out of the cycle of poverty in rural Zambia.
We are small, we know the people we send money to. We know how to make sure the money gets to them securely and we monitor their progress, as can you. We take no part of your donation but support the AACDP  with craft sales and fundraising. You can email and write and receive letters and photographs.

Education provides self respect as well as sustainability, one child at a time.

See our sponsorship page.