Planting seeds of kindness with the intention of them spreading through society was her goal. And now, 17-year-old Miranda Lynch can say that it’s a reality. She is proving that anyone can make a difference—even if it’s in another country.
When Miranda was 12 years old, she began the groundwork for a non-profit based in Inzinga, South Africa called Isipho, named after her nickname meaning “gift.” With the hopes that growing vegetable gardens in the malnourished community would create a secure food source for the village, over the past four years, Miranda and her parents have been creating self-sustaining programs from the roots up.
The idea of Isipho was born after Miranda joined her father Tom on what was meant to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South Africa. Rather than staying on the commercialized side of the country, the two ventured to a remote Zulu village and stayed with the Zuma sisters. After greeting the family, they went straight to work chopping wood and contributing to the night’s dinner.
Overwhelmed and culture shocked by the new environment, Miranda began to second guess her decision to visit the remote village, but decided to stay. Over their five day stay, Tom and Miranda helped at schools and worked in the gardens by tilling soil with tree branches. By the end of the trip, Miranda’s once hesitant outlook on their village trip had completely changed as she cried, not wanting to leave.
Seeing nutritious food as a key to helping people live healthier and potentially allowing them to pursue more opportunities, Miranda told her father she wanted to start a non-profit to help break the cycle of poverty in Inzinga. A lack of food wasn’t the problem in Inzinga, but it was the kind of food that was available, so they registered the domain name, made a call to Miranda’s mom and the non-profit was created.
Every year, the family returns to South Africa providing families and schools with the tools to plant nutritious foods including posts, fencing, start-up seeds and seedlings, tools and vegetable gardening training. Rather than focusing on dependent programs, Isipho’s goal is to have people teach others so eventually everyone could learn skills to maintain a nutritious food supply—something that is already happening. As of 2011, the organization has planted 40 gardens and every school in the village has a community garden.
The organization also highlights the importance of education and started a collection of research and reference books, creating a library for students to complete the necessary primary and secondary school classses.