Vegetables

Watch: These Dubai sisters aged 11 and 7 will teach you how to grow vegetables at home

Dubai: When many children get addicted to social media at a young age these days, two little sisters studying in a Dubai school have chosen a different path to put social media to good use.

Inaya Danish Zaidi, 11, and Nuha Danish, 7, have been growing vegetables and using social media to teach others how to do it. The Indian expatriate students of The Winchester School-Jebel Ali have named their community initiative ‘WINgrows,’ “in honor of the WIN family”.

The sisters took up farming in the backyard of their villa in 2019, but on a rather smaller scale, recollected Inaya. “It wasn’t until last year when we started growing on a larger scale,” she told Gulf News.

Sisters Inaya Danish Zaidi, 11, and Nuha Danish, 7, have been growing vegetables and using social media to teach others how to do it.

“There were many factors that encouraged us to start gardening. We were always interested in gardening as our grandmothers are very fond of it. We were urged to have useful hobbies like reading, writing and gardening, which we could do together as a family. We are more or less self-taught gardeners, but we started this gardening season with confidence as we had learned a lot from our mistakes last year.”

And when they started literally reaping the fruit of their labor, they were excited to spread the goodness to others. Hence, they began the project to encourage community members to take up kitchen farming and home gardening, she explained.

When you talk to her or watch her farming, Inaya, a year seven student, surprises you with her mature ways of explaining a topic that is so very close to her heart.

“WINgrows is more than just an initiative for us,” she said. “It’s a feeling that connects people, a project that encourages everyone to spend their time productively and share something that has been a distant dream as we were locked up, but is now uniting people like never before.”

Inaya Danish Zaidi and sister Nuha Danish and their community initiative6-1647321097432

The sisters took up farming in the backyard of their villa in 2019.
Image Credit: Supplied

She continued: “I’m not asking you to do much. Whether you’re a beginner or have experience; whether you have a huge garden or just a small space, I plead you, get up and in your garden, grow what you like — vegetables, fruit, flowers, medicinal plants, the choice is yours — but just do it. Motivate yourself to stand up and take one step at a time for a better, connected future. Go grab a seed, a pot, some soil and some water and trust me, you can work wonders — especially during the winter.”

So, what have they done so far to make a difference?

“We were able to grow tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers, spinach, turnips, eggplants, lemons, bell peppers, coriander, beans, lettuces, kale, rocket, bitter gourd, cauliflower, beetroot, oregano, basil, reddish, and ladyfinger,” an excited Inaya described.

“It makes me so proud to know that we can make a difference together, for the ones who need it, for the community and for the environment. So many people have much bigger spaces than us. Imagine how much they can grow if we self-taught gardeners can grow such an abundant crop,” she said.

“Not only have we had the pleasure of helping numerous gardeners, caretakers and labourers with a rich variety of fruit, vegetables, herbs, but we have also conducted a remarkably successful awareness assembly in year seven and are working to conduct similar ones all over the school,” she said.

The sisters have also conducted a session for children titled ‘Little hands recycle and grow’ in their community park.

The children took milk cartons, yoghurt pots, egg crates and even oil bottles to the park, along with some seeds and a watering can. “It was a very gratifying experience. Initially, they were hesitant, but once we were well into the process, they were very willing to get their hands messy, with all the participants walking off with solemn promises to water their little seeds every day.”

Inaya Danish Zaidi and sister Nuha Danish and their community initiative53-1647321094608

The sisters said they were promoting gardening as a way of diverting families from devices and screen time, to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, to encourage healthy eating and wellbeing.
Image Credit: Supplied

Sharing the produce

To share the locally grown resources is one of Wingrows’ principal aims. “I believe that sharing your homegrown produce with the less-fortunate is the spirit of Wingrows, to give away a bit of arduous work and a lot of love for an amazingly special cause to make someone else’s day,” said Inaya.

The sisters said they were promoting gardening as a way of diverting families from devices and screen time, to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, to encourage healthy eating and wellbeing.

“We have experimented with so many new recipes and ideas, with the help of our garden, which are all on our Instagram page. Organic produce has many benefits compared to regular, pesticide-full crops. It remains fresh for longer, is better for the environment, is largely hormone and pesticide-free, and many more. The clock is ticking and it is up to our generation to be the change we are looking for,” Inaya said.

‘Watching other tutorials and reading articles’

And how are they leading by example? Pat came her reply: “Our mother Sana, who works with our father, Danish Naseem, in their chemical trading company, helps us record and edit the videos as we don’t use devices unless it is necessary. She teaches us a lot about gardening. However, when she doesn’t have the answers, we watch other tutorials and read articles. Our father is more of the supply chain and he never hesitates to provide us with anything we need for the project. They also instilled the sense of responsibility in us to give back to the society, which is why we share our crop with community workers on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, we all work together as a family to achieve our goals.”

About the author

Getprofitam

Leave a Comment