It’s amazing how providing access to simple information and resources can dramatically improve the lives of the extremely poor. In February, Nuru issued farmers in the Nyametaburo and Nyangiti communities a loan of maize seed and fertilizer. Why? Their soil was so depleted of nitrogen and phosphates (critical to crop growth and sustenance) that the people could not produce enough food to feed their families.

By training the people to prepare and plant their fields using innovative farming techniques, providing high quality fertilizer to replenish the soil and as well as excellent maize seed, our farmers are anticipating higher yields than at any period in recent history. For the first time in years farmers are going to be able to feed their children for the entire crop cycle! As you can see in the above picture, the increase produced by empowerment is nothing short of astonishing. These incredible results will go a long way towards building trust between Nuru and other community members now eager to join Nuru’s program.

In this work, one of the most important lessons that I have learned is that those suffering from extreme poverty are just like you and me in so many ways – they feel, they dream, they seek to improve the lives of their families, they laugh, and they mourn. They are incredibly intelligent and resourceful – always thinking of innovative new ways to meet the needs of their families. These brave souls have survived things that I never could have, and have come out on the other side stronger and more determined than before.

When it comes right down to it, the real reason that these folks lack choices in life – why they are unable to throw off the chains of extreme poverty – is that they lack access to basic information and resources needed to step on the first rung of the ladder of success. Providing tools to empower the people of Kuria to lift themselves out of extreme poverty is what Nuru does.

When I left their fields in late March, these farmers were just beside themselves with a happiness they had not known in years. It wasn’t just an empty happiness that comes from a handout – it was a deep happiness that comes from the realization that they are changing their lives forever.