Cleveland couple heads to Africa to help feed starving children - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cleveland couple heads to Africa to help feed starving children

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One Cleveland couple is on their way to Africa in hopes to change the lives of the people who live there.

One Heart Africa was started in 2012 by Ryan and Anna Carmichael and their mission is to provide sustainable gardens to areas where food is scarce. They plan to be in Africa for the next four months, serving Mozambique and Swaziland.

They aren't doing this good deed alone, they have lots of help from other locals in the Tennessee valley. One of those groups is HATponics, a local nonprofit, who is donating all of the equipment needed to start the self-sustaining gardens.

"Our main goal is to educate, equip and empower really impoverished, war torn, disease stricken communities in Southern Africa," said Anna Carmichael, Co-Founder of One Heart Africa.

So far, One Heart Africa is reaching that goal, by providing a preschool to a small village in Mozambique. "With the preschool, we're able to employ local women to teach and cook and also drill wells," said Carmichael.

Education and jobs are two things that are hard to come by for these women and their children; but during the dry season, so is food. "Around 870,000,000 people are going daily without enough to eat. 45 percent of children under five years old are dying from hunger," said Ryan Cox, Founder of HATponics.

But in just a short time, two villages in Mozambique and Swaziland will no longer have to worry. One Heart Africa teamed up with HATponics in Chattanooga and is answering their prayer, by providing a self-sustaining way to grow what they need; using only 10 percent of the water it normally takes. "We use aquaponics to provide a water efficient system that raises fish as a protein source for people and vegetables as a continued resource. The fish water is what grows the veggies and the plants clean the water for the fish in a balanced ecosystem," said Cox.

The garden provides a feast all year round, even during the famine of the drought season. These sustainable gardens will feed nearly 350 children every day. "It would be able to give them a reliable source of food they can count on and give them better nutrition," said Ryan Carmichael, Co-Founder of One Heart Africa.

Those gardens will give these kids a chance at a better life. "Being able to grow, grow strong. It's just unreal. Something you can't really put into words," said Anna Carmichael.

They're hoping the knowledge they're giving to these two communities will spread across the world, impacting millions. "If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you will feed him for his lifetime. If you teach a man to farm fish, you can feed the world," said Cox.

When asked why are they doing it, their response? Why not? "We have the resources, we're educated, we have the tools; we can do it," said Anna.

If you'd like to help One Heart Africa, there are a couple of ways to do so. They are looking for sponsors for all 100 kids in their school. They are also looking for donations to buy a car once in Africa. They're encouraging anyone who can, to "match their miles", in donations. Click here for a link to their website.

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