Local NGO extends outreach programme

2011-12-23 00:00

WHILE literacy is a key aspect of a nation’s ability to thrive, impoverished rural households are often forced to focus on more immediately tangible issues in order to put food on the table.

In recognition of the practical challenges facing these communities, Pietermaritzburg-based literacy and skills development NGO, the Tembaletu Trust, recently took the bold step of extending its outreach programmes to include a permaculture livelihood programme that focuses on sustainability.

The gardening programme, which is a much-needed boost for the communities in the Mkhambathini area (near Cato Ridge), would not have been initiated were it not for a recent R20 000 injection from city private hospital, Midlands Medical Centre.

However, despite this generous donation, Tembaletu requires a significant amount of additional funding in order to sustain the project.

Dr Suliman Goga, chairperson of Midlands Medical Centre, said they hope their contribution will help those in need.

“Midlands Medical Centre is privileged to be involved in the training to generate a livelihood using permaculture. Poverty alleviation, job creation, and sustainable living is one of the focus of Tembaletu’s adult basic education and training program.”

Vicki Robertson, from the Tembaletu Trust, said food security is a primary challenge in homes where there is no regular source of income.

“The Tembaletu Trust is helping communities in the fight against poverty by providing sustainable skills training in permaculture livelihood and income generation.

“Permaculture is an ecologically sound way of utilising the land and water to provide food resources for domestic consumption, as well as for generating an income through the sale of the produce,” said Robertson.

NGOs have for some time now, struggled with financial sustainability due to the recent recession and general economic downturn — with national and international funding sources for projects and organisations having dried up.

Robertson thanked the many local, national and international sponsors and partners involved in Tembaletu over its 22-year history.

“Through Midlands’ generous donation, the Tembaletu Trust can embark on a further permaculture programme with a group of 10 community members,” Robertson said.

“We appeal to other businesses and potential funders to come on board, perhaps as part of their corporate social investment programmes,” said Midlands Medical Centre hospital manager, Malcolm Peters.

Contact the Tembaletu Trust on 033 3947 807 or visit them at 206 Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg.

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