Hunger will be a thing of the past for around 70 orphaned, vulnerable and some HIV/AIDS infected and affected children at the Mangwana Day Care Centre. This is due to the partnership between PPC Community Trust and Food & Trees for Africa, as they have launched the Mangwana Permaculture food garden in the rural Ramatlabama Village in Mafikeng, North West.
The Ramatlabama Village is one of the many poverty stricken areas in the country, where unemployment rates are high and skills development is required. Children are often the worst affected and according to World Vision, the mortality rate for children under five years old in South Africa has risen to 42%, with 1 in 10 children severely malnourished.
The fresh organic vegetables grown at the Mangwana Permaculture garden will now supplement the Day Care Centre’s feeding scheme with the surplus being sold to the local community to generate an income for the project. Many people from all walks of life are attracted to this unique Permaculture food garden which serves hundreds of community members in the area. Permaculture utilises the lowest input to gain the maximum harvest, providing a sustainable way of farming.
To ensure that the farming methods are effectively implemented, the Ramatlabama community gardeners were trained by Food & Trees for Africa. The PPC Community Trust funded the course which included Permaculture food gardening technologies and education on broader environmental issues.
“I was so excited to be selected to attend a two week Permaculture Design Course in Johannesburg in December 2012, and I am now a mentor for my community. This project has contributed more than just food and improved nutrition. It has provided jobs and is assisting in the alleviation of poverty, which in turn can contribute to reducing crime and substance abuse,” said Jacqueline Modieginyana from the Mangwana Permaculture food garden.
In the spirit of collaboration, the local authority donated the land for the food garden, the Mafikeng local municipality contributes petrol monthly for the generator and the Department of Agriculture provides further technical advice and support. Since this area is water-stressed PPC’s support extended to drilling a borehole, installing a water pump and tank, an irrigation system, fencing and a generator.
“Opposed to providing hand-outs to address this challenge, the PPC Community Trust opted to empower people and address long-term social needs. Playing an active role in contributing towards job creation and infrastructure development is core to the way we conduct business, especially in areas that we operate in,” said Joseph Mohlala, Organisation Performance Manager at PPC Slurry.
Improving quality of life for communities
According to Joe Matimba from Food & Trees for Africa, Permaculture farming technology plays a major role in mitigating poverty, unemployment and maintaining agricultural productivities. “It promotes economic viability in both short and long term, maintains stable rural communities and improves quality of life for communities. Permaculture optimises the transference of skills, knowledge, information and technology to achieve long-term stability in agricultural enterprise, environmental protection, conservation, preservation, management and consumer safety,” he said.
The PPC Community Trust also donated 100 fruit trees to local community members.
Organisations and their representatives attending the official launch included: The Tribal Authority, councillors and members of the Mafikeng local municipality, as well as provincial representatives from the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Water Affairs & Forestry, North West University, Environmental Land & Economic development, South African Police Services, and NGOs, amongst many others.
Food & Trees for Africa – celebrating 23 years of greening South Africa