Progressive youth uplift their local community

2018-10-12 06:00
PHOTO: supplied A local garden where locals plant vegetables to fight poverty in Franklin.

PHOTO: supplied A local garden where locals plant vegetables to fight poverty in Franklin.

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FRANKLIN youth have shown that they are bold and proactive, having started a soup kitchen to feed community members who are living in poverty. They provide daily meals to community members who are on treatment, children from poor families, and unemployed community members also benefit.

The South African National School Caregivers, a non-profit organisation (NPO), was established in 2016 by members of the Franklin youth; Mzwandile Mbotho, Thulisile Menzile, Siyamcela Matabata and Ntumeleng Makhoya; to fight poverty in the area.

They said many people from Franklin and surrounding farms live in poverty, so as a result they started a local nutrition centre, with assistance from the Department of Social Development. They were also sponsored by other companies.

Mzwandile Mbotho, the NPO chairperson, said the conditions of growing up in poverty have motivated him to support the nutrition centre.

“I have observed many families going to sleep without food. Even community members who were on treatment were not getting healthy food because they could not afford it. The NPO has helped them,” said Mbotho.

He said every day they provide food to approximately 250 locals from Franklin, Swartberg, and Longo areas. To identify needy families they are helped by local councillors, social workers, and community development workers.

They also provide gardening lessons to locals, help local children with after school classes, and arrange with the Department of Home Affairs to issue identity documents to locals.

“Instead of giving community members food to eat, we teach them gardening to produce food as a way of fighting poverty. We have approached government to provide additional space to produce more crops to feed locals,” added Mbotho.

The Greater Kokstad Municipality has graciously allowed use of the Franklin Community Hall for the group to cook food for the poor.

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