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Rehabilitation through agricultural skills with Purdue Farmer-to-Farmer Trinidad and Tobago

Gardening and poultry care are sometimes seen as trendy hobbies in the U.S., but in Trinidad and Tobago, Vision on Mission clients view these agricultural skills as a source of livelihood and hope for the future. 

Vision on Mission is a non-government organization that works to rehabilitate and reintegrate ex-inmates, deportees, delinquent youth and socially displaced persons in Trinidad and Tobago. “Our mission is to transform the lives of individuals who have been incarcerated and to increase public safety,” said Giselle Chance, CEO of Vision on Mission.  

For the past four years, the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Trinidad and Tobago program has partnered with Vision on Mission to improve the organization’s ability to provide for itself and its clients.  

F2F Trinidad and Tobago is co-led by Purdue University and the University of West Indies - St. Augustine, and it is funded by USAID. The program pairs U.S. volunteers with people across Trinidad and Tobago, like those at Vision on Mission, who self-identify what needs they have. 

One of Vision on Mission’s goals is to give marketable and practical skills to “clients,” or participants in the program. Clients can learn a range of skills from agriculture to barbering to other life skills, like anger management, money management and building better relationships with loved ones. Through trainings from F2F Trinidad and Tobago volunteers, Vision on Mission has been able to expand its ability to serve clients and to improve the skills training it offers. 

Reginald Lestage holds out a green and orange pepper. He is standing in the middle of a garden outside. Client Reginald Lestage displays a pepper grown in Vision on Mission's garden.

One F2F training Vision on Mission received was sheep rearing and management. Clients learned how to handle sheep, feed sheep and identify signs of distress. Chance noted that caring for another life had a therapeutic value for clients, who showed improvement in their overall mood, enthusiasm and attitude toward work. 

Vision on Mission also received training on poultry and egg production. Chance said,

“One of the objectives of our farm is to provide produce for our kitchen. We use vegetables, seasonings and locally grown chicken and eggs, so the training we received in poultry and egg production was invaluable to us.” 

The F2F volunteers taught the organization and its clients about better methods of feeding, lighting and heating for poultry. These new methods increased the number of chicks born and increased egg production by almost 50%. 

F2F volunteers additionally hosted training for food preservation, which further supported Vision on Mission’s kitchen. Volunteers taught about making marmalades and pepper sauces, products that increase the value of raw goods. With the training, Vision on Mission hopes to not only add pepper sauces to in-house food production, but they also hope to sell it to consumers. 

Finally, F2F volunteers trained Vision on Mission clients on pest and disease identification and management. Reginald Lestage, one of the clients, was particularly excited to receive the training.

Vision on Mission first exposed Lestage to gardening, and it has since become a passion for him. “I came from a concrete jungle, and I never had the chance to garden,” Lestage said. “Now that I’m here gardening, I love it.” 

F2F volunteers gave Lestage the skills and confidence to pursue crop production as a main source of income rather than just a pastime. Lestage said,

“When I leave Vision on Mission, I’m going to make a lot of money by investing my time and energy on planting. Now, I have the experience, know-how and skill to plant.” 

Other clients who participated in the F2F training have similar confidence in future careers. For example, many local farmers, recognizing the skills Vision on Mission teaches, have begun employing former clients as agricultural laborers. 

“The training was a great opportunity for our clients to learn some practical skills in agriculture and to receive world-class certification in various areas of agriculture and animal husbandry,” Chance said. “It was a great opportunity to partner with an international organization to increase our internal capacity.” 

Click HERE for more information about the Purdue-UWI Farmer-to-Farmer project in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Where is Vision on Mission

Map of Trinidad and Tobago with a red pin on Vision on Mission's locationVision on Mission is based on the island of Trinidad. This location places the organization near Trinidad's major prisons, which is where the organization focuses many of its programs.

Vision on Mission Fast Facts

  • Wayne Chance founded the organization in 2001 because of his personal experiences with incarceration.
  • Vision on Mission is a non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • Stakeholders include the International Corrections and Prisons Association and the United Nations Development Program.
  • Vision on Mission's logo represents their mission to rehabilitate and reintegrate those who need a second chance.

Vision on Mission Logo

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