NGO grows a community

2015-07-29 06:00
Photo: supplied
Denise Lesar (left) with the children from a disadvantaged pre-school in Mpophomeni, near Howick.

Photo: supplied Denise Lesar (left) with the children from a disadvantaged pre-school in Mpophomeni, near Howick.

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Tania.Sandberg@media24.com

IN order for a community to address the problem of social ills, it must take care of its own and find solutions to those problems within the community framework.

In rural communities, where there is no social corporate investment, government funding or interference and no non-profit organisations, people often take it upon themselves to do something.

One such example was recently discovered by Denise Lesar, who assisted the NGO, Atbak, to distribute seedlings to community food gardens in Mpophomeni, near Howick.

“From the gardens, I saw children aged between one and five coming out of a building [a crèche] , the size of maybe two rooms. The children were running in the garden, they did not have anything to play with, there was no toilet, they were just squatting on the grass,” said Lesar.

She discovered the crèche is run voluntarily by a woman who has no funding and does not receive payment from parents.

“Some parents send lunch, but if they can’t, the woman helps the children with food. She pays over R1 000 to rent the building and inside it was spotless. She has tables and chairs, some carpets and a few mattresses that were donated.

“There is an area for learning, a room for sleeping and a tiny kitchen. She said there are about 70 children on her books, but only 17 to 20 come on a given day as parents do not always have money for transport,” said Lesar.

It tugged at Lesar’s heartstrings that someone would do that to take care of the children in her community.

She promptly organised toys for the school and a food parcel for the children.

“One boy held onto a teddy bear, another boy opened the box with three toy cars and quickly shared with two friends. At least now they can have warm porridge in the cold winter’s morning.”

Taking in consideration that more needs to be done, the crèche now also has a supply of vegetable seedlings. Atbak teaches communities how to grow and maintain the seedlings, and currently sponsors 68 gardens. It always supplies enough so the community can sell the excess to hotels and guesthouses and receive remuneration in return.

To support Atbak or for further information, phone Lesar on 031 903 4495.

From the gardens, I saw children aged between one and five coming out of a building [a crèche] , the size of maybe two rooms. The children were running in the garden, they did not have anything to play with

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