GERMINATING TIES BETWEEN ASSOCIATIONS
Results of the First Year
During this first year with the elders from Casa de la Divina Providencia, the girls from the foster home Sumando Por Ti learned how to grow their own food free of chemicals and many other things, but over all they acquired a new perspective about themselves, the elders and the reality they inhabit. The images speak for themselves. We thank everyone from both homes for their support and participation, as well as all our friends and family who help us make this project a reality. Our deepest gratitude to BookBank USA for its support and sponsorship of this wonderful orchard in which we not only harvest veggies but also love and affection.
“Germinating Ties” is a project that was born out of the idea to help people stuck in a situation of social disadvantage to take the power of their lives in their hands, connecting with inner strength and empathy through service or care for others. When people develop their capacities, they also recover their ability to act, their self-esteem and they learn a new paradigm of life that goes beyond hard life story.
The project roots on the proven premise of “actions that help others in need” as a therapeutic path, and we chose as a stage an urban orchard (vegetable garden) to add the factors of environmental education, sustainability, and the concept of food sovereignty. Different institutions and research have proven that those who do volunteer work or help others who need help, experience a reduction in depressive or stressful feelings and and improvement in their self-perception and over-all mood.
In 2017 we installed an urban orchard that was donated by Mr. Andrew Kluger, President of BookBank USA, in the garden of a home for the elderly in the south of Mexico City called “Casa de la Divina Providencia, I.A.P”. In it we have sowed and harvested different varieties of lettuce, chard, coriander, radish, peppermint, carrots, broad beans and onions among other edible plants. This orchard is the scenario of periodical encounters that we call “GTBA” or “Germinating Ties Between Associations”, where the elders who inhabit that home during the day get visited by different groups of children from foster homes in Mexico City and together they learn to care for the orchard and about its impact on their lives, plus they also care for each other and recognize each other, reinforcing their sense of usefulness and social value, showing that unity and social work are key for the proliferation of fulfilled beings.
According to ENIGH 2016, 68.2% of elders in Mexico are unocuppied, which increases the chances of depression and age-related ailments. The GTBA project provides the elders with a productive activity that brings them a feeling of usefulness, thus helping improve their emotional and physical health. The reunions between children and elders provide feelings of happiness and wellness. They have developed strong bonds between them that make them feel not only accompanied but also useful by caring for others in need.
Mexico is the first place worldwide in sexual abuse, physical violence and homicide of children under 14 y/o (OCDE, 2017). GTBA combines two of the most vulnerable groups in Mexico, elders and abandoned or orphan children.
Mexico is a country with very little ecological awareness and education: according to INEGI and SEMARNAT, 60% of Mexican households don’t separate the solid residues they generate; one in every three homes does nothing for water conservation; 12% of them don’t save on electricity and 20% of families burn or leave outside the furniture they don’t use. Our GTBA encounters focus on transmitting the necessary knowledge to children and elders about the small-but-significant actions to improve our environment, such as recycling and food production through an urban orchard, that help pave the path to a more sustainable Mexico.