The perma-garden methodology is an economic strengthening activity for caregivers and parents of the orphaned and vulnerable children. This allows for them to produce food throughout the year by teaching them the natural principles behind productive gardening and matching those principles to best practices. This allows them to feed their families independently and produce for the market to earn an income.
Designing the garden
These plots are made in way that water use is limited. The soil holds moisture for a long time since the mix of ingredients supports the soil to produce enough carbon. The caregivers first measure the garden to the size they want and turn over the dirt. They add manure, wood ashes, pounded egg shells, add fertilizer and cover up with the soil. The next stage is the building of ridges in the garden then more lightly sprinkled charcoal, pounded egg shells and fertilizer is added on top. After maintaining this for a few days the caregivers plant their seeds of choice. The carbon is important also for the growth of plants.
A total of 189 (Female 99; Male 90) were reached with this evidence based food security design. This includes the caregivers and their children who have been impacted by the gardens. Our families sell these vegetables to benefit them economically. When marketing the produce they also use the sales point as a place to impart information on nutrition.
The MoCookie Company (Mochudi Cookie) is part of Stepping Stones International Income Generation Program, where the participants build their own companies and learn about marketing strategies and the meaning of entrepreneurship. The company bakes every Friday and sells the cookies, traditionally oats and raisins cookies to the staff, participants and/or visitors at the centre. The objective is, besides experiencing what it’s like to be part of a company with spending, and profits, is to give the participants a space where they can learn about production, where they can improve their concentration, efficiency and cooperation skills in a team work space, being the kitchen. The German Embassy donated an oven for baking cookies in mass. SSI has approached Holiday Garden Inn who are interested in selling the cookies in the shop. The MoCookie Company needs to look into packaging and marketing. The children participating in the MoCookie Company are experiencing a form of success and self efficiency in a different environment than in school, where they need to use their creativity, analytical skills and learn business. A lot of these participants come from economically challenged homesteads, so the funds they raise from the cookie company will be shared at the end of year and they will use the funds to purchase their own basic needs, for example, a school uniform or shoes.
The purpose of this project was for participants to explore the following six key issues / areas suggested by Design Squad Global:
Help people stay healthy
Help people stay safe
Protect the environment
Improve our school
Make older people’s lives better
Make children’s lives better
Children brainstormed the key issues and were tasked with ranking the top 3 priorities. Once the priorities were identified the solutions started flowing. The children selected Help people stay healthy in their environment (designing a dustbin to help keep the environment clean).
During this session the participants focused on turning their dustbin design into a prototype. Participants discussed and assigned tasks on how they were going to begin building their prototype with the materials they were supplied.
Participants successfully worked in groups, coordinating their efforts and clearly communicating to reach their goal.
Tactics such as using duct tape to secure the plastic and ensure it will not break were used. The child explained, “We are adding extra sticky tape to make sure that it is strong and so that it will not break” said one of the participants.
They further explained that they used a plastic inside stating, “We have put a black garbage bag inside to test if it would fit. When the bag becomes full it can be emptied in the big dustbins outside”
The children’s satisfaction at the end was healthy, “We are very happy with our dustbin. We think it will work because we designed it well and built it well.”
Defining the need: The purpose of this session was to design an emergency shelter prototype.
Emergency Shelter Prototype: During this session, the participants focused on strengthening their understanding of the design process by focusing on the brainstorming and design steps. The participants discovered which architectural shapes (triangles, squares etc.) make the strongest building blocks. Participants were tasked with designing an Emergency Shelter prototype. A prototype is a quick and simple model that lets engineers and inventors test whether their ideas work.
“We think this will be a strong shelter because we have used a triangle shape and added a base”
Emergency Shelter Life-Size Challenge This session focused on the participants’ ability to take a prototype, visualize and build a life-size version. Participants worked as one group to build a life-size emergency shelter using different methodologies. Participants used their prototypes as a guide to model and plan the construction of their life-size emergency shelter. During the session participants’ understanding of the importance of building a prototype became increasingly obvious and they were pleased in the time invested during the prototype phase. Their understanding of the strongest structural shapes was also heightened as they undertook building the emergency shelter. Participants then tested the design by seeing how many of them could fit inside the shelter. They also noticed the strength of their walls and made adjustments / corrections to their design (using additional tape to strengthen walls and close gaps
STEM took a turn this quarter with a focus on computer lessons, building boys’ and girls’ information technology skills for future use either in employment or business. Several groups rotate through the computer lab. Before each session participants are briefed on the lesson objectives followed by tutorials then a practical. On average there are 60 children and 70 youth who attend computer sessions a week.
Basic computing skills and using programs such as Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Mastering the basics is critical for the students to attain jobs. In usual Stepping Stones International’s style the computer lessons are combined with personal development. The children and young adults research topics on health, peer pressure, interviewing, resume writing, relationships and present the topics to their peers. The added value is that they have the opportunity to become more fluent in English while presenting.
2019 computer lessons started off with a bang because the children learned about computer coding. This is the most exciting part to them as they get to see how animations and television programs for chlidren are created. Coding was introduced to them to show it is possible for them to choose coding career and can be done by everyone.
At the end of the coding session, Thato (changed name), 15 years old jumped up and said, " I know what I want to be when I grow up, a coder!" He continued as if the epiphany would never end, "I am going to make movies and code the characters and code their actions and code....everything!"
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