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  • Writer's pictureCommunities Assist

Inspiring Youth, Transforming Communities: James Morrisey's Impactful Initiative

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

I have known about Communities Assist and Rainbow Ridge my whole life, since it was founded by John O’Reilly (my uncle) less than 2 years after I was born. To arrive and meet the local Communities Assist family and see Rainbow Ridge was surreal after all I had heard over the last 17 years. For over a month across July and August 2023, I worked with the Green Team at Rainbow Ridge. 

Under the guidance of Farm Manager Frank Kimaro, I learnt about permaculture principles, ethics, techniques and methods of design. Every day there were significant steps forward with the completion of the Nursery along with the Solar Dryer, both becoming crucial parts of the site’s food production and preservation. There was a lot of energy and eagerness to prepare Rainbow Ridge in anticipation for the Green Team's first ever solo presented "permaculture in practice" course run at Rainbow Ridge and its SPEC starting December 11. 

Fields were harvested, swales were formed, and seedlings were transplanted from the Nursery into the gardens. As part of sustainable waste management, cow manure was used in numerous ways to create manure tea (sustainable fertiliser for crops), compost, feeding banana trees and biogas for cooking. The key result of this sustainable system is healthier soil, hence healthier plants, healthier food and healthier people. Water is currently pumped by a diesel pump from the creek to tanks which are then fed to pipes to circulate around the property to the kitchen, showers, toilets and to the newly installed drip irrigation system.  As there are limits to water used from the creek, a bore hole is a pressing need. Rooms were prepared for the kids and of course students including the instalment of new windows. 

A highlight was going out to visit the kids at Sinya Primary Boarding School with Mama Gretha and Ide. I was able to provide the kids with school shoes bought from a local second-hand market along with daily essentials.

It was extremely exciting to meet them all and talk about how much they love their school and how their studies are going. Mama Gretha and Ide also told me the large impact and gratitude from the local community for the school’s new bore hole, leaving significantly more water available in the community bore hole for nearby families and livestock. 

The future plans of Communities Assist in connection with Sinya Primary starts with a wire fence around the school to prevent local wildlife such as Elephants and giraffes from entering and destroying vegetation, allowing greenery to flourish in the way it has at Rainbow Ridge. In doing so, the 1200 kids at Sinya Primary are taught the techniques and principles that make it possible to turn a desert landscape green and share their knowledge at home to produce their own crops and food supply.


I loved every moment of my time at Rainbow Ridge and all the amazing work that is happening right now. Can’t wait to get back.

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