A community garden has been established at the Emkhuzweni Community Partnership Center (ECPC) to help relieve the extra burden that has been placed on child-run families brought on by drought and the lack of facilities needed for the production of food to sustain self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, food aid is sporadic and often non-existent in this region.
There are at least 120 families (more by the time you read this) within a 5km radius of the ECPC that have been orphaned. These child-run families struggle to survive and in many cases, the extended families do not have sufficient means to provide for their orphaned siblings, nieces, nephews or grandchildren.
There are many obstacles that prevent them from rendering a successful production of vegetables at home. Fencing, which is expensive and beyond the means of most, is definitely needed to keep out animals that want to graze in the garden. Water needed to sustain the crops is often far away, and rainfall is sporadic or non-existent. Seed and fertilizer are costly.
Our solution was to create a community garden, a fenced and secure area, where drought-resistant crops can be grown by the affected families on plots assigned to them within the Center. Each family will keep 90% of what they grow. The remaining 10% will be kept at the Center to be held in reserve for emergencies.
Our new irrigation system has enabled us to grow nutritious vegetables and fruit for our nursery as well. Crops that have been successfully grown at ECPC include: cabbage, corn, cassava, cowpeas, jugo beans, spinach, bananas, mangoes, papaya and eggplant. The Center has been able to sell these veggies, as well as dried Moringa leaves that are crushed and used for medicinal purposes, at the local market.
Satellite gardens are being placed closer to the homesteads of orphaned children. Access to nearby water and a lot of hard work by the people of these communities will help them become more self sufficient. In order for the gardens to succeed we also need the materials necessary for fencing. Donations contribute to the success of this program.