At our Greater Kruger Projects in South Africa, we have now embarked upon an exciting new community project to support our Big 5 Wildlife Research and Youth Empowerment Project - Sasekile Gardens.
The overarching aim of the Sasekile Gardens Project is to equip young people with the practical and theoretical skills necessary to generate income. This is extremely important in the Greater Kruger Area, as the region experiences severe unemployment, poverty, and a lack of basic education. This is especially true of the youth living in the area, with 15-24 year olds making up 70% of all those unemployed in Mpumalanga.
Our initial goal is to help these unemployed young people become self-sufficient, and help them sustain themselves and their families through growing vegetables in a community garden. Once this is achieved, we will seek - with the young people - to build their skills for income generation. It is a self-sustaining model where the youth will receive equipment and training in the garden, in order to be able to produce vegetables for their own sustenance, as well as produce seedling boxes for others. In it's second phase, the project will provide training in basic business skills to assist with future income generation and further education.
We have already selected 6 young candidates from the local area of Greenvalley who were interested in joining this venture. These individuals have graduated from high school, but have yet to find employment and have come together with African Impact in setting up the Sasekile Garden project.
So far, we have struck a partnership with Maputha Ditshaba High School, who offered us a piece of land where we have begun building the community garden.
This begun on Youth Day, 16th June 2017, when volunteers headed into the community to ‘break the ground’ with gardeners. We spent the morning clearing the ground for the garden, and gardeners very much enjoyed meeting and interacting with volunteers. A highlight, so far, for the gardeners has been learning from the volunteers; in particular finding out more about frogs, worms and spiders that we have discovered while clearing the garden. The guides and volunteers have been helping the gardeners to identify them and give some interesting facts which has helped the gardeners to overcome a little of their fear!
Since our first session, we cleared almost all the land and began creating garden beds. The Greater Kruger photography volunteers also joined us to help make the last few garden beds, put on some compost and very importantly take some portrait images of the gardeners. These images will help us to raise awareness of the garden project beneficiaries within African Impact and beyond.
The amazing hard work of volunteers and gardeners alike have helped us in getting to this point in the project and we are delighted to say that we have now planted 1615 seedlings; cabbage, beetroot, spring onion, chillies, spinach, tomatoes and green pepper. The next stage is fencing to demarcate the garden.
This new project is a very exciting addition for the Greater Kruger community projects and the garden beneficiaries themselves. Stay tuned for updates as Sasekile Gardens develops!
To find out more about this project, or make a donation, please see:
To volunteer on this project, visit the project page on our website:
Photo cred: Tim Feherty, Photography Manager