Guns to gardening tools: The inspiring story of farmers in Indonesia

Note: This story was first published on Our Better World

A seed is a tiny, yet incredible thing.
It has the capacity to transform into something so much bigger than itself, to provide food, shade and even the air we breathe.
But even the toughest seeds need nature to nurture it with sunlight, water and the right kind of soil.
There's a place in Indonesia where the youth have a particularly strong understanding of this sort of nurturing.

 Guns to gardening tools: The inspiring story of farmers in Indonesia

Screen grab from video

CHALLENGES

Coming from various challenging backgrounds, these youths learn life lessons by having nature as their teacher at the Learning Farm.
The 15-week programme gives the youngsters – often coming in because of drugs, poverty or religious radicalisation - a chance to find their balance, through learning new skills and increasing their self-esteem.
The Learning Farm, in effect, encourages them to plant seeds of change.
Up by 5am and at hard at work in the fields by 7am, some hands that once held guns now hold gardening tools, with a focus on caring for some of nature's more fragile members.
After lunch and some rest, they study English and get lessons on organic farming.
And after dinner, the youths spend time with mentors or work on creative handicrafts before turning in. Volunteers also visit to share with them everything from first aid to hip hop moves.
The full day provides these unlikely gardeners the chance to learn, exercise responsibility and even have fun.

NUTURING

And as they nurture the plants, they nurture themselves.
The best part about seeds is when they grow and eventually sprout.
And so it is with the Learning Farm's graduates, 90% of whom move into more meaningful and positive chapters of their lives after the farming stint.
Some find employment, others go back to school to finish their education, and a few start their own businesses.
Just like a seed needs the right conditions to develop, sometimes all we need is a good, nurturing environment, to bloom.

How You Can Help
You can help in planting the seeds of change! If you're keen to donate, purchase their products, offer your skills by volunteering, or want to sponsor a programme, get in touch with The Learning Farm.

Watch the video here:

Updated Date: Jan 30, 2015 09:53:04 IST