Sister Federica Zoia is a courageous and tenacious doctor, a woman full of energy, vitality and passion, who has chosen to dedicate her life to serving others. For many years she has lived and worked in Kenya, in Kathonzweni, near Nairobi. Valter Baldaccini met her during one of his trips to Kenya. The result was a solid and deep friendship, which would lead to the creation of various humanitarian projects.
In one of her first letters, when the idea of a common planning approach to the Baldaccini Foundation began to emerge, Sister Federica wrote to us: "Women are the backbone of African society and this simple project can have a significant impact on their existence and on many other people. We believe and hope together in the possibility of a new dawn for many Kenyan women!”
Building a project for Kenyan women also means giving concrete help to all their families. Offering each of them a job opportunity guarantees a small income, a certain source of livelihood and a path towards autonomy and independence.
The project on Kenyan soil was called "Mutanu" or joy, the joy that 20 women are rediscovering through the dignity of work led by Sister Federica. They are women who live in absolute misery and poverty and who thanks to this work can grow lots of vegetables to sell in the local market, creating income for themselves and their families.
It was the summer of 2018 when, after identifying and purchasing a piece of land, the first operational meetings with the women involved in the project began. Then the construction of the greenhouse finally began. In September of that year, thanks to the constant commitment and hard work of women, the first tomato plants sprouted.
On year after the Mutanu project began, the garden is beautiful and luxuriant. The plants are growing and the vegetables ripening and the women, enthusiastic about having this unique opportunity, have started selling the garden fruits to the market. Furthermore, the expansion of the external part of the greenhouse has begun, which will be used for the cultivation of peppers. “You have truly changed the lives of these women and made them happier” Sister Federica told us.
Between 2019 and 2020, thanks to the support of many donors, a small goat farm also began. Each of the women is entrusted with two animals. Raising goats means having milk and meat that can be consumed and sold. This is possible because of the herd’s growth.
The great challenge of 2021 was to train the women of the project. It was not easy, but it was the only possible way to allow women to become more and more autonomous. Thus, armed with pen and paper, the women attended two training courses: one dedicated, specifically, to the development of agricultural techniques, the other to microcredit, essential to lead them towards complete autonomy.
Throughout 2021, and also into this early 2022, the drought problem in Kenya has been very serious. Everyone is suffering from the lack of water: people, animals, garden plants. Women are organized with a small reserve of water stored in cisterns and canisters, but there are weeks in which even these supplies are not enough.
In spite of these challenges, the women’s enthusiasm and commitment never stopped. And after the goat breeding adventure, still in progress, it was they who proposed the construction of a chicken coop. Each woman will have 10 hens and a rooster to begin with. When the first chicks are born, the women will be able to sell the eggs and, gradually, also have new hens.
Sister Federica wrote to us: “Beyond the difficulties, we can say that this project is fantastic. Our women are proud to be part of it: for them the pink garden represents a way to give meaning to their days. Valter would be proud of them! I'm sure. Mutanu in name and in fact. There is so much joy in this green house!".
The Mutanu project, the pink garden and the maintenance of the small farm with goats and chickens can only go on thanks to the commitment of Sister Federica and those who, every day, choose to be close to these women. € 5 is enough to donate new tomato plants to the women of Mutatu. Donate now.