Helping the needy through gardening

2018-01-23 06:00
Yenzanathi Community Uplifment Project founder, Lydia Hlophe.PHOTO: nosipho mkhize

Yenzanathi Community Uplifment Project founder, Lydia Hlophe.PHOTO: nosipho mkhize

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AFTER seeing people die from HIV/Aids in KwaNyuswa, Lydia Hlophe left her job as a domestic worker to help those who are affected by the death caused by the disease.

She said in 2007 many died due to Aids and children were orphaned.

Many of these children lived with the grandparents and survived through the grandparents’ grant.

“It was heartbreaking to see so many grandparents suffering and trying to hold it together for the sake of their family.

“So I met with the grandparents to find out how they are coping. I started with 10 families in the area with the help of volunteers. We then started a soup kitchen which provided bread and soup three times a week. I then decided to speak to social development officials who advised me to register an NPO.”

Hlophe registered the NPO in 2010 and named it Yenzanathi Community Upliftment Project.

“After I registered the NPO Social Development came on board and did research throughout the community and discovered a lot of the youth were unemployed so they sponsored us with an internet café. As for the grandparents we came up with an idea to teach them everything pertaining to gardening.”

In 2010 the NPO applied for funding at the National Development Agency (NDA), which in turn sponsored the organisation with gardening equipment for 65 families. “These families now plant vegetables at home, at Yenzanathi offices and the Yenzanathi land which is 0.5 hectares.

“The land is owned by one of our members, Bongani Blose, and we have leased it for five years. NDA also paid for our youth members to be trained by Nosa in agriculture and poultry. The youth then passed on their knowledge to senior citizens.”

In 2016 Operation Jump-start built the organisation’s offices and the Minister of Finance Belinda Scott donated two laptops and two park homes for the NPO.

The organisation now has a soccer team called Young Celtics as well as a netball team.

“This is one of the ways to keep the youth off the streets and promote sports in KwaNyuswa. I want to thank the eThekwini Municipality Grant-in-Aid in partnership with Mr Price Foundation for sponsoring us 53 soccer kits.”

“This year we want to change the way we do things. We want to transport our vegetables to the market and sell them to raise funds for the organisation.

“We also want to get more land to plant vegetables so we can sell them and give to our members to feed their families.”

Hlophe thanked everyone who has assisted the organisation, Boxer, Footprint Foundation, Libalele Foundation, Shoprite, Checkers, eThekwini Municipality Grand-in-Aid, IKhethelo Village, Operation Jumpstart, NDA and Mr Price Foundation.

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