This is a woman – lead initiative. In 2012 Boikanyo the Dion Herson Foundation transformed a rubbish dump behind Sediba Thuto Primary school in Mapetla Soweto, into a vegetable garden the size of a soccer field. This is our flagship project which has turned out to be an overwhelming success.
We grow a variety of vegetables which are available to the school kitchen for augmentation of the school feeding scheme
The gardeners sell reasonably priced quality produce to the locals. It is no longer necessary to walk kilometers to the shop to buy vegetables.
This garden has also been an entry point for us to develop skills and implement other social programs.
The volunteers who run this garden have gone from strength to strength, their physical health improved, and they are entrepreneurs in their own right.
Since 2017 the garden has been self sustainable, no more stipends are paid, and to the volunteer gardeners run the project completely.
Our gardeners are part of Izindaba Zokudla – a University of Johannesburg program which brings all the farmers in Soweto together. Food and Trees for Africa have stepped in to mentor the gardeners. This intervention has really done much to improve the harvests.
Vegetables are very reasonably priced.
The volunteer gardeners have independence to run this initiative as they see fit, it belongs to them.
Our garden has been an example to the community about issues related to environmental awareness, recycling education and respect for birds of prey.
We have promoted dignity and self respect, and entrepreneurial reinforcement
We impact on the school, parents, teachers, learners, Department of Education, and surrounding community.
This project has been a collaboration between so many stakeholders throughout the years, both in the private sector and government. It is a CSI initiative.
We have impacted the school, the parents/caregivers, teachers, learners, Department of Education and the community itself.
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Last week a small group of us went to see the feasibility of sending up e'Pap to very small NPO's in the Acornhoek/Bushbuckridge/Phalaborwa area. South African Jewish Board of Deputies and The Angel Network SA - donated this lifesaving gift, tons and tons of it.
As time goes on I have learned a new yardstick for poverty - the state of the dogs. Dogs are fed last, once the rest of the family eats. After much trepidation that this area was so badly affected by covid, it turned out that it was not one of the worst affected. That dubious award goes to ANYWHERE in rural KZN.
Nonetheless, the state of the foreigner nationals is the same wherever you look. Absolutely pathetic!!! We saw Mozambican families who live abysmal lives. Nothing, just nothing, to their names. Somehow tenacity and will to survive lives on in people no matter how oppressed and starved they are.
By the end of this week the next load of e'Pap will be dispatched to this area. Thank you kind wonderful leaders of the Jewish community of Johannesburg, you have really come to the party and saved lives. ...
I have spent the best part of the last 10 days trying to pinpoint where our next R200 000 of emergency covid food relief from the incredible The Angel Network SA and South African Jewish Board of Deputies will be spent, where will the e'Pap go? The foreign nationals have won this round...This donation will go to the Acornhoek/Buffelshoek/Phalaborwa and Musina areas. The idea behind sending to these areas is to provide smaller NPO's (who literally have nothing more than a dept of social development number) with e'Pap for those who are arriving across the border, either returning or just plain starving. These small NPO's are the organisations who can satisfy my need to assist foreign nationals...
So next tuesday Rose Grealy Kransdorff of e'Pap Technology, me and Denise Abrahams (who helps find suffering dogs tied up) will climb into our hired 4 wheel drive and head out to the middle of literally nowhere. We have no idea what to expect as far as roads go, if it rains it may be a huge challenge. There may be no roads, we cannot find coordinates of any of the drop in centres I have stumbled over, unable to communicate in English. If things are bad here in the shockingly poor areas, we need to brace ourselves for the worst.... ...
Dogs and pets...how they have fared during covid is a sign of how the plague and famine has hit us. When we went to Manguzi we didnt see dogs, they hopefully were starved to death a while ago. A trip through Protea South squatter camp for me has however reminded me that our animals tied up are still around, many of them much thinner. A new puppy here and there has arrived, I have no illusions they will only survive a few months as well. Gideon Morar from Gideon's Animal Outreach met with me 2 days ago, we just received a phenomenal donation of collars and leads from Sue Ruttimann. Enough for 40 dogs who have rope or wire around their necks. He told me stories of dogs he sees left to die with no food, just tied up helplessly. He has taken a few of them to be euthanized. The government has made it clear to us all that we are worthless, I wonder if we can expect those who are STARVING to be any better to other creatures? Its a debate...but for the meanwhile the conditions in the squatter camps are shocking. Thin people who are are acting without compassion....I cant bear this much longer. ...
The last few weeks have been so difficult, I have kept away from FB because I have dipped into a world which is unfathomable to me, one which I cant deal with well, and one which has no pictures to post. Sexual abuse of a 15 year old by her uncle who she is forced to live with, and physical abuse of a 10 year old at the hands of his mother. Shocking burn on top of past beatings. One of the schools that I assist in Soweto had no idea what to do either, they called me in...this lead to me involving the Teddy Bear Clinic, who sent on to SAPS. Both children are being 'managed', thanks to the principal who has been a star since going down the long road This has not been a picnic. ...