24 Nov 2016 Dispatches From South Africa
Here’s our most recent report from our South Africa Liaison, Peach Ratshana, who gives us the latest first-hand update on the on-going work at the schools and how the gardens are progressing. Peach is hard at work coordinating with our various partner schools on how to optimize their resources.
After our workshop in August, we encouraged our schools to put the principles they learned into practice.
Mama Leanette and I went to each school and the progress was amazing to see. Mulching, which is a way to preserve water, ensured that no water went to waste in gardens. especially critical during this time of severe drought. The school were assessed on a criteria checklist – organic compost, mulching, seedlings that they grew themselves, water conservation and passion/involvement. They were marked on a scale of 1 to 10.
The top three schools (Beretta Primary, Senanyia Primary and Nourish) and the two (Hoedspruit Independent and Mothaileng Primary) most improved won a trip to Thulani, lunch and a game drive, which will be a treat for the children and gardeners who have worked so hard during the year. The prize was awarded to a gardener, a teacher, and six learners who were actively involved in the garden – whether it be through scouts or environmental clubs – or orphans who assisted in the garden.
Thank you A spring of Hope for all the support, and guidance. We have seen improvement since practicing all that we have been taught about Permaculture. To have won, will show our children the importance of gardening.
~PK, Hoedspruit Independant
One of the challenges that many of our schools faced was goats and chickens eating their produce. As a remedy, fencing has been donated to the schools by ASoH in order for them to harvest their produce to its full capacity.
Once again, this wouldn’t be possible without the kindness of all our generous donors and volunteers.
Arbor Week – “Forests and Water”
Wildlands Conservation Trust generously donated 10 indigenous trees per school for Arbour Week. Wildlands is an NGO based in KZN which has rolled out the Trees for Life Initiative across South Africa. A pioneer in the community development sphere, the Trees for Life Initiative encourages community members to plant indigenous trees at their homes in recycled two liter bottles – these trees are then taken care of by the individuals and once they reach a certain height are then bartered for livelihood goods such as food parcels, building materials etc. This not only cleans up these communities but also teaches valuable environmental lessons such as recycling, the importance of tress, and sustainability.
The theme for this year’s Arbor Week is “Forests and Water” and the department urges residents to help them protect our indigenous forests; help prevent veld and forest fires; plant a tree to green our country and mitigate against climate change; plant indigenous trees that save water; and use water conserving methods when planting trees and integrate fruit trees into your food gardens.
See more of the exciting progress at the schools in the photos below. It’s really gratifying to see the programs coming together. Join us in our rewarding work by getting involved! Make a donation, make purchases through Amazon Smile or Giving Assistant, or check out the other programs we offer. Ubuntu!