Plant sale ready to get Malawi Girls on Move

For the past 11 years the Mill Bay Plantaholics have held a plant sale in Mill Bay to support a variety of charities

Elaine Scott special to the Citizen

For the past 11 years the Mill Bay Plantaholics have held a plant sale in Mill Bay to support a variety of charities and this year is no different.

Barb Kohlman, Sharon Martin, Ali Morris, Noreen Carver and Elaine Scott have been very busy and a wide selection of plants will be available for sale. This year the money will be used to support two important activities. Part of the money will provide a secondary school scholarship for Agnes Chazeza, a young women in Malawi, while the rest of the money will go to Somenos House in Duncan.

This annual plant sale has become well known to local gardeners as a source of healthy interesting plants at a reasonable price. As well, master gardeners from the Victoria Master Gardener Association are always on hand to provide gardening advice, so if you have a problem with a plant in your garden, put a sample in a plastic bag and take it to the master gardener table at the sale. Or you may have questions on how to grow specific plants in your local environment.

The Malawi program that will be supported by the sale is Atsikana Pa Ulendo (Girls on the Move). This program arose from the work of Vancouver Island woman Christie Johnson who worked in Malawi, alongside a Malawian teacher. The aim of the program is to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of young girls and women living in poverty and in so doing, spark a ripple effect of reduced poverty, illness, malnutrition, early marriage and gender bias.

Last year the students in this program achieved a 100 per cent pass rate in the Malawi School Certificate Examination.

When one considers that the national pass rate for this exam is 68 per cent, this is an amazing achievement and is even more impressive when you realize that nearly half of the students in this class are scholarship students, coming from rural village backgrounds of extreme poverty with huge gaps in their educational background.

Agness Chazeza is one of these women. She is now in her fourth year of secondary school. Mill Bay Plantaholics provided her with a scholarship to complete her first three years and plans to do the same this year.

The second organization that will receive proceeds from this plant sale is Somenos Transition House in Duncan. A program of the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society, Somenos House provides short term shelter and support when women (with or without children) need safety from violence and abuse. Providing a safe, supportive and quiet environment for women and children who are trapped in a violent situation is an extremely important program of a caring community, and Duncan and the greater Cowichan Valley is exactly that, a caring community.

So come to the Mill Bay Plantaholics Plant sale and support two very important programs through the purchase of healthy interesting plants for your garden. The sale will be held on Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2836 Oceanside Lane, Mill Bay (east off Trans Canada Highway at Kilmalu, south on Church Way, east on Welch Road and south on Oceanside Lane). This is a private garden that customers can tour at their leisure. The sale itself will be held at the top of the driveway. For more information phone Elaine at 250-743-0965.

Elaine Scott is a member of Mill Bay Plantaholics.