Our Beyond the Roots celebration is not only meant to highlight the 10th anniversary of our sustainable volunteer programs in Africa, but also commemorate the occasion with an act of long-lasting change for many of the communities in which we work on Nelson Mandel Day. On the 18th of July, 10 sustainable food gardens will be built at 10 of our project locations across Africa, one being located on the border of Thanda Game Reserve in South Africa. Here to introduce the initiative is Business Manager Amanda Warren, who outlines not only the anticipation of the event, but also highlights the long-lasting impact it will have on the Mange community of rural KwaZulu-Natal. As it's nearing Mandela Day the Thanda team and volunteers are looking forward to giving their time to help the community. The plan is to reinvigorate the Mange Community Garden, an area measuring 70 by 30 metres. On the 18th, volunteers and staff will get to work alongside about 30 community members who regularly tend the garden, weeding and getting it ready for the seedlings that we have been nurturing for weeks. We are also building a seedling area, a movable shaded area to protect the plants from ‘sunburn’ as well as a sign to advertise the garden to the community as a whole. By doubling the garden, the individuals who run the garden will be able to sell more of their produce in the community and to a wider clientele. At the moment, the garden provides produce for our lodge and volunteers as well as the local community of approximately 2,000 individuals. With the new initiatives that will be launched during Beyond the Roots, we are hoping the newly expanded garden will help the community to get a few contracts to supply vegetables to the local shops, thus enhancing their existing income. The newly erected sign and increased size of the garden will attract the attention of any locals who pass by the garden, ensuring an increase in supply will also assist in the creation of funds to buy more seeds to continue the garden year over year. The additional section of garden will create more planting space meaning more variety of seeds can be planted thus enhancing the overall nutrition of the community. Mama Grace, who first started the garden in 2010 with 6 other Mama’s is delighted that we are working alongside the community to increase the garden area. So far, we have planted our seedlings, designed the seedlings area that will be built on the day as well as prepared the wood for our sign and shaded area. There will be a lot of carpentry on the day as well as preparing the land! To learn more about Beyond the Roots, watch our YouTube playlist about the initiative.