Ever since they were born, Maia and Hugh Raymond have been soaking up every ounce of knowledge bestowed on them by their mum Morag Gamble, an internationally renowned permaculturalist.
Having grown up in a permaculture village on the Sunshine Coast, Ms Gamble says her children have helped to start school garden programs and have assisted her with teaching different education programs and workshops for other kids.
Now aged 12 and 10 respectively, the Crystal Waters youngsters are set to accompany Ms Gamble to Africa on December 5, where they will spend time co-designing a sustainable food garden for The African Children’s Choir Primary School. They will work in a school garden demonstration centre that feeds more than 300 orphans daily and take laptops and permaculture books to resource the permaculture education centre in Uganda.
Maia and Hugh will also be students in their mother’s permaculture design course for teachers, farmers, activists and community workers. They will also support Ms Gamble when she offers an introduction to permaculture program with a women’s self-help group in Kenya and meet with the Ugandan minister of education to seek support for the development of permaculture curriculum and gardens for primary schools throughout the country.
This is all being done through Ms Gamble’s social enterprise, the Permaculture Education Institute.
This will not be Maia and Hugh’s first foray overseas. They accompanied Ms Gamble and their father Evan Raymond to visit villages in South Korea when they were aged four and two and on completion of their trip to Africa, they will both have a Permaculture Design Certificate, allowing them to become registered permaculture teachers.
“They are young permaculture leaders,” Ms Gamble says proudly. “By being involved in these programs, they see the importance in helping people to address things like clean water, clean food and generating opportunities for livelihood on small pieces of land.
“In Uganda, one in five children are stunted because of malnutrition and 70,000 children drop out of school each year because there is not enough food. Introducing sustainable food garden programs in schools and supporting the local initiatives that are already operating there will give them strength to ripple out across the country and make a difference to so many children’s lives, while helping families to get ahead.”
Ms Gamble has been fundraising and hopes to be able to take over $10,000 to distribute to the various organisations she will be working with. The money will go directly to the projects they are working on.
Despite the prevalence of poverty and hunger in Uganda, Ms Gamble says there are a lot of people who are looking for ways to move towards a future free from violence and desperation. “From the conversations I’ve been having, there’s significant impact already being seen on farming culture due to climate change and this is the main source of income and livelihood in Uganda,” she says.
“My role on this trip is to mentor those young teachers, because we want to overcome the whole colonisation thing and instead be supportive of what it is they are seeking to do.
“There is a real drive for them to get back to the traditional way of being on the land.”
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