In Worcester, a small NPO is leading a food security revolution in aid of the vulnerable. Driven by passion and a spirit of volunteerism, the NPO ensures that the most vulnerable have access to nutritious food.
“Food gardens seemed like a tangible solution as not only do they ensure that people have meals before taking treatment, but also ensure access to nutritious food.”
In line with Social Development month, which is celebrated in October and dedicated to caring for the vulnerable, the Khulisa Food and Nutrition Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) is stepping up its efforts to provide essential support to various community-based organisations. The NPO is providing this much-needed assistance in the form of essential garden tools and vegetables to organisations such as Early Childhood Development centres and soup kitchens.
This initiative is aimed at addressing pressing challenges, such as malnutrition and poverty, faced by community members in Worcester, where the NPO operates.
Moreover, these organisations receive water irrigation systems and harvesting tanks to help them start and maintain their gardens. Phumza Zotwana (44), the founder of Khulisa Food Nutrition says her ultimate goal is to see the lives of ordinary people improve. She also yearns to see government, businesses and community organisations working together to eradicate poverty.
“Khulisa Food and Nutrition Security was motivated by my love for community development and activism, as it is all I have known since the young age of 14 years.” From that young age, Zotwana realised that some people were defaulting on their treatment for chronic diseases as they could not take it on empty stomachs.
”Food gardens seemed like a tangible solution as not only do they ensure that people have meals before taking treatment, but also ensure access to nutritious food which can boost a patient’s immune system.” she added. Community food gardens Speaking to Vuk’uzenzele, Zotwana said the project encourages community members to have their own backyard gardens so that they have food at their disposal.
The organisation also hosts food market days for local gardeners. Zotwana has eight volunteers assisting her with the project. The volunteers receive a stipend from the Presidential Stimulus Employment fund. The NPO prides itself on teaching the volunteers skills that will benefit them in the future. Khulisa has benefitted from financial management training from the National Development Agency. In August 2018 she also received R115 000 which was used to purchase office equipment.
The NPO also received R80 000 from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform aal Developnd Rurment. This funding was used to establish a vegetable production tunnel in Zwelethemba. The Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency provided R200 000 funding to extend the vegetable production tunnel and to build nursery tunnels at the Nonkululeko Service Centre for the Aged and PJB Cona Primary School.
Zotwana plans to further equip the community to ensure food security. Future plans also include an agricultural skills training centre at the Zwelethemba Police Station and establishing communal gardens for the sick and those unable to plant food gardens at their homes.
• For more information about the National Development Agency, visit: www.NDA.org.za
• Contact the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development by visiting www.dalrrd.gov.za
• The Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency can be reached on www.breedegouritzcma.co.za
• To reach Khulisa Food and Nutrition Security, call Phumza Zotwana on 071 679 0798