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UMCOR: “Miracle Tree” launched in Sierra Leone

Blooms on a Moringa Tree

Imagine a tree in your backyard that meets all your nutritional needs, takes care of you medicinally, and purifies your water for you. This tree actually exists.

For centuries, the people of northern India and many parts of Africa have known of the many benefits of Moringa oleifera. Its uses are as unique as the name by which it is known: Califer, Horseradish, and Drumstick (a reference to its drumstick-shaped pods), for instance, and, in East and West Africa, “Mother’s Best Friend.”

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has played a pioneering role in the promotion of Moringa as a food supplement source in Africa for a decade. Its Sustainable Agriculture and Development unit (UMCOR SA&D) supports widespread cultivation and production of the plant in Ghana and Liberia. Thanks to your generous gifts on One Great Hour of Sharing Sunday, UMCOR was able to help the people in these areas.

Native only to the foothills of the Himalayas, Moringa is now widely cultivated in Africa, Central America, South America, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This tree is nutritional dynamite. Virtually every part of it can be used, and there are hundreds of uses for it.

Moringa leaves contain all of the amino acids that are essential to the human body, including two that are especially important for children. They also are the richest single natural source of vitamins and minerals on the face of the earth.

A family that has Moringa available for its use can virtually “grow multivitamins at their doorstep.” Why? Because Moringa contains vitamins A,B1, B2, B3, C, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and zinc!

Participants at the UMCOR SA&D Moringa launch in Sierra Leone purchase Moringa products.  Mozart Adevu

Moringa contains some 46 antioxidants, which promote heart health and control the aging process. Moringa leaves and fruit are loaded with phytonutrients, which flush toxins from the body, purify the liver, bolster the immune system, help rebuild red blood cells, and rejuvenate the body at the cellular level.

The Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) coordinated the efforts in the country to promote the use of this great gift of God for Africa. The Presbyterian Church-USA and Agricultural Missions, Inc.-USA, in consultation with UMCOR, led the promotion.

These efforts culminated in the decision for a nationwide launch of the Moringa in Sierra Leone. Last October, a national conference was held in Freetown. It brought together interested and high-level participants from church and government, and was attended by the national press.

Bishop Yambasu praised the efforts of UMCOR, CCSL, and all of the partners and farmers involved in the promotion of Moringa. He pledged his church’s commitment at all levels to this effort.

As it turned out, the launch not only created greater awareness of the nutritional and medicinal qualities of Moringa; it also opened up a market avenue for Moringa producers in Ghana—one more benefit of the “miracle tree” that is brining increased food security to West African communities.

--adapted from a story on GBGM By Mozart Adevu

One Great Hour of Sharing offering, a United Methodist Special Sunday, enables the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to respond to disasters around the world by covering its operational and administrative costs. Unlike other mission programs, UMCOR receives no World Service or other apportionment money. By giving to One Great Hour of Sharing, you enable UMCOR to keep the promise that 100% of designated gifts can go 100% to support the designated PROJECTS. Please continue to give generously to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Your gift can make a difference in the lives of those who are hurting.  Click here to give online.

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