How a garden is helping a community grow

 At Jehovah Jireh Baptist Church, a sense of community is growing along with a garden.

The Berrinba-based institution is like a second home for many churchgoers, where they strengthen their faith, learn English and most recently, grow fruit and vegetables.

“It feels like a big family – there are always kids running around and everyone is supportive of each other.”

— Rachel Ngun Hniang Par

Funded by the non-profit organisation Carinity, the community garden has flourished under Pastor Lal Fanai’s guidance.

His goal was to help ‘isolated people, refugees and elderly people’ who were struggling to find work. The church provides seeds, gum boots and other basic tools, so they can grow crops to use at home or sell at markets.

Most of the congregation are Burmese migrants and asylum seekers.

Rachel Ngun Hniang Par, the church’s administrative officer, says the most rewarding part is how they have created a community.

‘It feels like a big family – there are always kids running around and everyone is supportive of each other,’ she says.

‘There are currently 20 families involved and the children help out as well.

‘Most of them attend English classes or have work responsibilities, but they all like to come here when they have a day off.’

The garden features a variety of vegetables, like snow peas, eggplant, and a popular Burmese staple, roselle.

Rachel hopes they eventually harvest enough crops to start hosting markets on Saturdays.

‘We only have Sunday markets in our area and that day is reserved for church,’ she says.

For more information, check out the Jehovah Jireh Baptist Church page.

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