Abalimi is supporting members of HIV/AIDS support groups to establish and maintain their own vegetable gardens. Vegetable gardens of this nature are currently flourishing at the Guguletu Health Clinic and the Philangetemba Khayelitsha Hospice.
In the corner of NY1 and NY3 in Nyanga, you will find beds of lush green vegetables within the premises of the Guguletu Health Clinic. This garden is run by the members of the HIV support group, Sakeka, and supported by Abalimi.
The six gardeners at Sakeka all share the status of being HIV positive. Their community garden is a safe environment where they can help each other to cope with the repercussions of being HIV positive. Through gardening, the Sakeka group are empowering themselves to tackle the devastating health affects of their illness. As project member Mxolisi Nimrod Gwele said, “My health has improved from the nutritious vegetables and exercise I get from my gardening.” The energy and spirit that these individuals have shown is truly inspirational.
Philangethemba, otherwise known as the Khayelitsha Hospice, is a support home for HIV positive people in the third and fourth stages of the disease. The Philangetemba vegetable garden is only three months old, but Pinky Ciya, the social worker, is very excited about the benefits that it has already given to the members of the support group.
In Philangetemba, the support group members participate in the gardening every Tuesday. “We use the vegetables from the garden to provide the support group with a meal when they come to visit, and members of the support group can also take some vegetables from the garden home with them,” says Pinky. “Nutrition plays a very important role in the treatment of AIDS and this way the members are learning the skills to start their own gardens at home.”
“Working in a garden helps the members to learn about team work.” Pinky says, “In this garden, everyone follows the motto EACH ONE TEACH ONE.”