A Rose Voucher Journey in Hackney

“I have twin boys, Assan and Harry.  Assan had had bronchitis when he was little and was anaemic.  Harry could run rings around him, and Assan would get tired very quickly.  The boys didn’t even know what fruit was before the Rose Vouchers because I couldn’t afford to buy any fruit or vegetables.

One day a friend told me about Rose Vouchers and called the Children’s Centre to see if I could receive the vouchers.  Carol, the supervisor checked and I could receive them.  The very next day I had the vouchers in my hand and I went to the market with my friend. 

When I first went to the market I bought melon, oranges, banana.  The boys were scared to try the fruit and for 3 or 4 days they wouldn’t eat it, Harry especially.  I put little pieces of tangerine and mango on their plates and said “Harry, can you choose one?”.  He took a little bite and, finally, he liked it.

When children are small they don’t know what you’re offering them so they need their mum to say “do this, do this”.  I put little bits of veg and rice on their plates, and they love it.  I make stew with lots of vegetables, and flavours from Sierra Leone – tomato, peanut oil, chili. 

Now I am so happy because my boys are eating broccoli, cauliflower, okra, spinach. The lady at my market stall knows that I like spinach that I can cut so that it grows again and makes my money go further. 

I like to try new vegetables, so every week my boys and I go to the market, we choose our vegetables and fruit and talk to the lady.  I take my boys everywhere with me, and they love to look at what’s at the market – they pick up the fruit and say “fruit! Fruit!”.  Another friend just found out she can have the Rose Vouchers, so all of us go to the market together.

I have to take the boys to hospital for check ups. The dietician said “What are your boys eating? They are very strong!”.  Assan runs just as fast as Harry now. They both run and play all day because they eat all their fruit and vegetables from Rose Vouchers.”