We want to say a big thank you to all our dedicated donors who supported the matching campaign in June- we raised over $7000 in 1 hour! This is vital funding that enables us to continue teaching Agriculture programs to children in Thanda until the end of the year.
We've been busy lately setting up more gardens at the 4 different primary schools where we operate. This way, teaching is practical rather than just theoretical and everyone has a chance to put their hands into the soil to plant their own seeds. We all know that children learn best through 'doing' and it has been a lot of fun too! We built a Worm Farm from old buckets and used broken bike frames to hold up tomatoe plants. The veggies that the children grow are shared by the group, making everyone very proud of what they have achieved. In a place just a few years ago agriculture was 'for old people', children and youth are now more and more enthusiastic about what they can grow themselves to feed their families.
These photos are from a garden set up at Sosukwane Primary. Thands fixed their broken borehole, so now children play as they pump water to put on their plants. The land was on a slope and budgets were low, so Thanda brought in over 1000 old tires and children and Thanda's teachers had fun filling them with dirt and building a wall. They also have a chicken tractor from Thanda, making collecting the eggs one of their favourite activities! Thank you for your generous support to this exciting and important project.
This is the story of Bandile, who was 17 years old and doing grade 8 for the second time when Thanda’s agriculture after-school program came to his rural Sizanayo High School. Outside a humble school building set amidst rural hills dotted with huts and cows, the children learned to grow vegetables- something that had been lost during the turmoil of South Africa’s last 100 years. Bandile was the last born of 3 children and didn’t know anything about planting, but he immediately became passionate about agriculture and set up his own garden at home too. He taught his retired father and unemployed mother how to garden and they started helping each day. Bandile borrowed many books from the library set up by Thanda at his high school and he passed grade 8 with Thanda’s after-school help.
Today, Bandile is known around the community for his dedication to agriculture and his knowledge on organic permaculture. Teachers and local community members buy their vegetables from him and he’s supporting his household with this income. If you ever meet Bandile along the path, people say that he’ll turn the conversation to talk about agriculture and start teaching you how to plant.
This is just one of many examples of the changes happening in rural Umtwalume, spurred by Thanda’s agriculture initiatives. Just yesterday a new group of youth come to us, asking for advice and training in their new chicken business. It’s incredibly exciting as we start to see change happen and watch an economy take form.
Thank you for your overwhelming support during the Microsoft Youth Spark campaign- we raised over $9000 in under 1 hour! This has enabled us to fund our ‘Care for the Environment’ after-school programs for 310 children, as part of Thanda’s Hands-on Learning Education curriculum. I love watching children at Thanda plant seedlings for the first time- their joy at watering and watching the plants grow each day after-school is wonderful, as they wait expectantly for vegetables to start. The local youth told us a few years ago that agriculture was ‘for old people’, but we clearly see a new culture developing where children and youth show interest in working with the environment to sustain their households and offer better nutrition. In December we visited the home of Philani, who has started a garden that helps support him living alone. He showed such pride in his garden and had developed valuable skills for life through his green peppers and beans!
You also funded the environmental sustainability, rural development, and entrepreneurship after-school programs for 120 high school students in 2014- essential tools for teenagers growing up in a rural community in South Africa. By the end of 2013, 100% of the 60 youth in our high school agriculture programs and 84.6% of the 30 performing arts students had been inspired to start their own vegetable gardens at home. This year, youth will focus on global warming and renewable energy, looking at Thanda’s solar panels as an example. The Computer class has already built a solar panel to power the first light-bulb in the computer lab- we can’t wait to see what they come up with this year!
Near the end of last year, we also created a sustainable duck pond from old tires, built a goat house, grew thousands more organic seedlings, and purchased 40 more egg-laying chickens. Now everyone has a place to sleep and we hope you enjoy these photos of what we’ve done so far on our ‘farm’.
Thank you for being our partner in this project. We are still raising funds for the high school agriculture and active citizenship programs in 2014, so your support is always appreciated as we teach such valuable tools to the next generation.
South Africa: Build an Income Generating Farm
A warm thank you to all of our donors for contributing to Thanda’s Build a Farm Campaign. With your kind donations so far, Thanda has purchased 9 chickens and built housing for its egg laying project. The hens lay an average of 5 eggs per day. These eggs are sold to the community and are also used to feed the children in Thanda’s programmes. The demand for these eggs is huge as they are inexpensive to purchase and provide a nutritious source of energy that people in this rural are in need of. The need for eggs is so high that Thanda plans topurchase more hens to cater for this demand.
Thanda students are also excited to have chickens at the Thanda Community Centre. Kids were enthusiastically involved in building a chicken tractor and extending the chicken coop. Having chickens at Thanda has also become a learning tool as children are taught to raise and care for animals and they learn entrepreneurship skills involved in selling eggs.
Please continue to help Thanda with this initiative as the project is starting to gain momentum and recognition in the community; it is making a positive change in the lives of people in this rural area.
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Founder and Executive Director