Planting the crop for tomorrow!
More than a dozen SUNCOAST volunteers got their hands dirty when they planted a veggie garden at the Ngilonde Project in Chesterville, Durban.
The veggie garden initiative was SUNCOAST’s monthly Community Upliftment Project contribution for September. Employees volunteer their time once a month to different CSI projects in Chesterville. These vary from month to month and are identified by Vukukhanye, a non-profit and public benefit organization in the area, which is SUNCOAST’s main CSI beneficiary through funding.
Spinach, beetroot, green peppers, lettuce, brinjals, onions, tomatoes and carrots were amongst the veggies planted – to add to the potential harvest of the crop.
The Ngilonde Project (an NGO feeding scheme) is an after-school care centre for orphans and vulnerable children, aged six to 18, in the area. Caregivers follow the Isibindi Programme – “Isibindi” is Zulu for ‘Courage’ – which works to meet children’s basic needs, protect them from abuse and exploitation, promote their rights and support and empower their families in order to prevent family breakdown and the children’s placement in institutions.
Testing, counselling and assistance with other HIV-related issues is also provided plus life-skills training (including health, hygiene, budgeting and nutrition) to prepare the children for independence.
Homework is supervised daily, help is given with projects, reading material is loaned from the nearby library and a feeding scheme provides the pupils with a meal when they arrive after school.
Holiday programmes and talks are also organized for the youngsters in conjunction with the Department of Social Development. Topics such as substance abuse, teenage pregnancies, bullying and other serious issues that affect teenagers, are covered by speakers from organisations such as Childline.
The Project – which was established in the early 90’s and registered in 2005 – is situated near the Chesterville community clinic and currently has five staff members.
Some of the vegetables that are harvested from the veggie patch are used in soup that is served to the children once a week. Food parcels are also distributed to those identified in need. The rest of the crop is sold to members of the community – to supplement the funds used by the Project.
“We hope that the new additions to the veggie garden will flourish and supplement the current crop,” says Anthony van der Meulen, CEO of Vukukhanye.
These sentiments were echoed by Louise Howell, SUNCOAST Marketing Manager. “The Ngilonde Project provides such meaningful support to orphans and youngsters from child-headed households in the community. We sincerely hope this contribution will make a small difference in the organisation’s feeding scheme.”
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