This information is from Eddie Bisset of  Herbex whose Happy Child Foundation have been involved in helping Khayelitsha home owners with establishing food gardens as part of their on going social responsibility investment.

veggie garden

Benji at the centres veggie garden

We have been working on a ‘backyard veggie garden’ project in Khayelitsha to increase food security and reduce malnutrition.
This project will be established in Nganini shack land which has over 70% unemployment and zero facilities.

We are in co-operation with Benji of Inity to roll out this initiative.He has identified 15 home owners who are prepared to use their little plots to establish veggie gardens.
The Happy Child Foundation is funding this project with an initial investment of nearly R40,000.Garden

Yesterday Andre, Nichelle and I went out with Benji and met some of the homeowners involved in the project.
These are all wonderful people with little hope of stable employment.To put you in the picture I’ve used one family’s story as an example.

For example the lady in the pic with Benji and Andre is a grandmother with eight family members living in her house.
Only her husband has a job bringing in about R1,000 per month in wages (yes, it’s correct).
Furthermore they get about R800 from the gov in child grants.
So, for less than R2,000 per month 8 people have to live, eat, educate, clothe and support themselves. You can imagine how tough it gets. We met some of her family members and they are all friendly people and welcoming to our project.

In the pic she is standing outside her shack with Benji and Andre on the little piece of ground she will be planting with beds of spinach, cabbage, butternut, pumpkin, tomatoes, potatoes etc.
With Benji’s help and support she will be able to feed her family and maybe have a little over for selling to neighbors.

Each home will be supplied with fencing, bedding, shade cloth and seeds and of course Benji’s oversight and our support.
There are thousands of households like this that we will attempt to assist.Of course not everyone is willing to put in the labour and care to grow veggies, but as the project takes root and shows fruit we hope more will come on board.

It’s a pilot project and the end result is to fulfill the Happy Childs mandate of feeding children. Benji told us that schoolgirls in the community are prostituting themselves for as little as R20 a time to earn some money. You can see them lining up on Baden Powell Drive. It’s a sustainable model that not only feeds people, but increases dignity and re-connects shack dwellers with the land.

We’ll keep you all in the loop as the project develops.

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