The Pride of Mango Trees

A mango grove near the Kyamulinga School, Uganda.
Article from the One School at a Time newsletter, October 2011.
Kukanga School planted 168 mango trees this June, 2011.  Hussein, One School Program Manager, trained the teachers how to care for the trees.  Each tree was assigned to a student to water and care for it.  The students love their trees so much.  Each student has named their tree and is keeping a tree journal to document its care and development.  So far, only one tree has flowered.  The student who cares for that tree was heartbroken when he was told by the teacher to remove the flower (which would permit the tree to put more energy into its roots).  Of course, this student wanted HIS tree to produce fruit first!  After much coaxing and tears the teacher had to pluck the flower after school hours to soften the blow to the child.
Jane Kibuuka, Kukanga School head teacher, arranged a meeting with the school neighbors to give each family a mango tree and to ask them to keep their livestock (cows, goats, pigs, etc.) tied up.  The neighbors made a rule amongst themselves that the owner of any animal harming the school garden and tree nursery would be responsible for reimbursing the school for the replacement costs.  So far, not a single tree has been grazed and every single one of them is growing and prospering.  The school plans to fence the trees soon for further protection from grazing animals.
In 2 1/2 years, the trees will fruit.  Each tree could potentially produce over 100 mangoes/year.  Each mango can be sold for about 20 cents.  A harvest of 16,800 mangoes will potentially generate over $3,300 a year.  These funds can be used to pay the security guard, cook, and bursar; replenish supplies in the girl’s sanitary kit; maintain water systems and new classrooms; purchase educational and sport supplies; host events; and provide bonuses to teachers.  The mango project will permit the Kukanga School to eventually become financially self-sufficient–no longer dependent on funds from outside sources, but standing strong and resilient on its own!