Tuintje in mijn Hart - Update III

We were supported by S4S during our project, which contributed enormously to the impact and the final result.

When we arrived at the Christoforus Boarding School in Paramaribo, there was already placed a greenhouse with a lot of potential, but which was little used. Our goal was to make the boarding school self-sufficient with regard to vegetables through this greenhouse. In doing so, we wanted to motivate the resident children and teach them about modern agriculture through a curriculum.

In the first few weeks, a major problem quickly became clear to us: the boarding school was not occupied half of the weekends and during the holidays. As a result, the plants in the greenhouse could not be watered daily, making it impossible to maintain a permanent harvest. The first step, consequently, was to install an automatic irrigation system. After a designing-period of three weeks, we devised a sustainable way of irrigation, which uses collected rainwater and which switches on and off automatically. Of course, this plan also had to be put into practice. Fortunately, with the contribution of S4S we were able to achieve this easily. Although we encountered quite a few obstacles during the implementation phase -it turned out that all of Suriname had come to a standstill in December- we were able to place the entire system in the greenhouse. An important note to this, is that only implementing a cool system was not our approach. We have placed the system collaboration with the locals involved in the boarding school, so that they have built up enough knowledge about it in the event of a defect. We also provided financial advice on the maintenance and continuation of this system.
The construction of the irrigation system provided good conditions for the constant cultivation of vegetables for the boarding school. But after we had finished this, we wanted to focus on our other goal; motivate the resident children and teach them about modern agriculture through a curriculum. The youth of Suriname see agriculture as somewhat old-fashioned, while the modern means, in combination with the Surinamese climate, are ideal conditions for providing a good income. One of these modern means is Hydroponics. This is a special way of growing vegetables, in which the roots of the plant are not in the ground, but are floating in the water. The nutrients are added through liquids, making the plants grow better and faster than in the soil.

Thanks to the sponsorship of S4S, we were able to install such a hydroponic table within the greenhouse. We received help from Surinamese specialists, who will continue to supervise the children after our departure.

In addition to these two physical implementations, we have built up a network of volunteers and interested parties around the greenhouse, who will continue to provide the greenhouse and the lessons around it. This allows us to cross off both our goals; the boarding school is provided with vegetables from the greenhouse five times a week, and the children have weekly lessons in modern agriculture in the greenhouse.

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