COVID 19 has challenged us to find ways to support our target group (unemployed adults) that do not involve groups of people being trained. Thus we have had to suspend training courses during lockdown. But we managed to get permission to keep on providing our services on the ground non the less. Thus our garden centres remain open for individuals to come get manure and seedlings. Plus we have launched "manure runs", whereby we take manure and seedlings out into the far flung areas to service our target group (especially home gardeners) so that they dont have to come to our garden centres on public transport which would expose them to a higher risk of infection. The manure runs go out four times a week and reach approximately 50 gardeners on each run.
The gardeners pay a nominal amount of money to buy the manure, seed and seedlings which goes back into buying more manure and seedlings. Thus our home gardeners are enabled to continue planting fresh veg at their homes.
Your help make this possible and we thank you for our continued support during this challenging time
Here is our latest newsletter covering a 12 month period with the foucs on our basic training and some lovely examples of home gardens arising from the training.
Although I have already reported on training in a recent previous report, this newsletter brings you closer to the action on the ground.
Your wonderful help with our work has been and is essential to enable those who cannot pay for the training to obtain bursaries. These trainees most often go on to start a home garden which can supplement their food supply at home since there are more often than not many mouths to feed. There is an average of 5 household members per gardener, sometimes many more and the fresh veg from their home gardens makes a real difference to their household food security.
Bless you and thank you for your support!
*all the people named in the newsletter have given permission for their full names to be used.
one of the pillars of our work in the field is to ensure that the gardening movement that we support can have access to cheap inputs like seeds, seedlings and manure.
To this end we run two garden centres in Khayelitsha and Nyanga where anyone can come and buy these items at a very low cost. For under R20 a gardener can get a dozen healthy seedlings and five kilograms of manure, enough to plant out one home garden bed.
Here are a couple of pictures showing people queuing for manure and obtaining seelings.
The garden centre staff also offer free advice and information to anyone who is sruggling with a problem in their gardens and all of this keeps them quite busy since there are over 2000 people who come to visit the garden centres each year.
The garden centres are also the place where we hold our three day basic training courses for new would-be gardeners but this will be a subject for another report.
Thank you as always for your ongoing support, without which we would be less able to carry on our important work here in the sub economic townships of Cape Town.
Our three day training course on basic home gardening is steadily expanding the network of home gardeners in the Cape Flats - every two weeks. Food security remains a pressing issue in Cape Town‘s informal settlements and townships. Growing own food at home or at community gardens is a push toward self-sufficiency.
Included here are two pics showing graduates holding their certificates of completon from our three day training course. As you will see they are made up of both men and women and even young people , all of whom either have no employment or who (in the case of the young folks) come from households where no one is employed. Unemployment rates in the areas where we work are in the region of 30%-40% and it is such people who we target.
In South Africa there are social grants (child support grants and pensioner grants) but these are only small amounts of money - about 86 USD per month/person which does not go very far in a household of an average of 5 people, even if there are more than one people getting these grants.
So learning how to garden becomes an important survival strategy for such people.
Your help continues to allow us to offer our training to the unemployed.
To those of you who have donated once off and also to our loyal repeat donors,
Im happy to show you a few pictures of our farmers and the result of their hard work. One picture is of a farmers meeting which you will see is a big meeting. Mixed in the large group you will notice a couple of europeans who are members of our staff.
The next picture is of some farmers in their garden which is one of the approximately 50 community gardens that we support. Their garden is looking healthy and fresh despite the very bad drought we experienced this summer.
The last pic is of the produce from the gardens which we then sell for the farmers through our Harvest of Hope marketing arm. The Harvest of Hope marketing arm is almost covering all its own costs from a small percentage that it takes from the sales of the farmers veg.
Please remember that our community gardeners also produce fresh vegetables for their own consumption and what they earn from sales is used to support their households. Please also remember that without their gardens they would be unemployed and underfed.
We are very proud of our farmers who survive and thrive despite all odds and who set a shining example far and wide for others to follow.
We are grateful to you for the wonderful support you all give without which we would not be able to continue to train new farmers and improve the skills of the existing ones.
Thank you once again and best regards
Rob Small- resource mobilisation support for Abalimi Bezekhaya
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