On 18 July as part of the Beyond the Roots initiative, which highlighted the organization's 10th birthday, volunteers and the African Impact Cape Town team spent the morning at Red Hill Preschool installing vertical hanging gardens, working with a company called CanGro to install tomato plants that grow upside down in recycled paint cans, held a fundraiser to support our ongoing health and nutrition focal project at the school, led plant workshops with the students and carried out many other activities. Since then, over 200 hours have been spent by volunteers, community members and African Impact staff in the garden, caring for the plants and also using it as a basis for educating the students at the preschool.
Teacher Ntombi is one of the three preschool teachers at Red Hill and prepares those about to go into Grade R. She has been the leading community member engaging the preschool students and other community members in the garden. Ntombi has always had an interest in plants and recently went on a nutrition course designed specifically for preschool educare teachers as part of our health and nutrition focal project.
On a day to day basis she explains that her interest in the garden is to see the plants stay healthy and green. Her overall aim for the garden is for it to continually produce vegetables which can be used to feed the students at the preschool. Ntombi is quick to point out the educational benefits to the students by having a garden at the school, explaining that the students have learnt so much, not only about the different parts of the plant, but also what is required for plants to grow and bloom. Ntombi has identified areas she’d like to develop in the garden – namely expanding the number of vegetables currently grown and also for the students to learn more about the soil itself and caring for the soil as well as the plants.
The students now have an in-depth understanding of how to plant, grow and care for the garden's crops. This has been achieved through plant workshops, daily watering and studying of the plants, songs, and crafts. Both the preschool and the African Impact Cape Town team are confident and excited about the garden going forward – additional hanging gardens have been created and we’re now turning our attention to the areas of development identified by Ntombi.