Dispatches from South Africa

We are officially back in the swing of things and there are lots of interesting developments.

Because the effects of the continuing, severe drought have been damaging our school gardens, we will be working even harder with our partner schools in helping them achieve sustainable permaculture goals. To make it even more exciting, we have a new collaboration with WESSA. WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) is a South African environmental organization which aims to initiate and support high impact environmental and conservation projects to promote public participation in caring for the Earth. One of their initiatives is their Eco-Schools program, which focuses on creating awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools and their surrounding communities. We look forward to enhancing our program with this curriculum while helping our schools simultaneously work towards Eco-School certification.

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We recently hosted a workshop with all our schools in order to set objectives for Eco-School certification and, more importantly, self-sustainability. The informative session addressed such subjects as: What is permaculture? How to start? Water-saving tips, and other interesting topics. We will start working with a core group to refine these objectives, sort out any fundamental problems, and then move on to the rest of our schools. We will continue to follow up and communicate with our schools to motivate and encourage them through this process. Our next workshop will be in the garden where everyone will get their hands dirty!!

IMG_8111On a personal note, working with Mama Leanette has been the cherry on top – she is an icon in Acornhoek when it comes to leadership, permaculture and all-around amazing change in communities. Having grown up in a family that encouraged farming and getting in touch with nature, Mama Leanette developed a great love for growing vegetables. Her journey with A Spring of Hope, has been an inspiring one. When asked by Joanne what would bring change to Beretta and the surrounding community, water was key. While there were many initial challenges, as permaculture theory emphasizes use of natural resources, Mama Leanette has taught not only her students but her community the importance of being self-sustainable through permaculture and water conservation. She is a force to be reckoned with and she says the opportunity she has been given will allow her to touch many more lives. Phambili – forward!