Green light for community

2016-06-14 10:43
Recycling plays a big part in the activities of the Garden Village Green Light Community Project. Chairperson Ronell Trout, left, shows that nothing goes to waste as they even use empty cooldrink bottles to decorate and create borders in their gardens. With her are with Barney Cupido and Miriam Edward.

Recycling plays a big part in the activities of the Garden Village Green Light Community Project. Chairperson Ronell Trout, left, shows that nothing goes to waste as they even use empty cooldrink bottles to decorate and create borders in their gardens. With her are with Barney Cupido and Miriam Edward. (Gary van Dyk)

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Garden Village in Maitland is becoming a beacon of positivity with a project that is uniting the community.

The Garden Village Green Light Community Project is one of the projects run in conjunction with The Cape Town Project Centre that brings students and faculty from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, located in Massachusetts, USA, together with Cape Town partners to conduct projects that advance mutual learning and sustainable community development in informal settlements and other disadvantaged communities.

Ronell Trout is one of the founders and chairperson of the project in Maitland and is passionate about making a difference in the suburb.
She says it was started in 2011 with community members deciding to tackle problems in the area with nine projects.
“We realised that people have to become proud of who they are, what they are capable of and how they can play a part in making a difference,” she says.
“So we decided to create interest in gardening, safety awareness, home care, sports, dancing, music, drama, fitness and fundraising.
“All these programs are to keep children off the street, to help to uplift our underprivileged people and help creating jobs.
“Unemployment is very high with teenage pregnancy, drug and others substance abuse rife in our community.”

She points out that one of their initial projects was very successful.“We started a food garden at the Methodist church in 2011 and it was a great success but we had to give up the piece of land when the church wanted to use it. Luckily in 2014 we got some land at the Village Todds Educare with a lease until 2010 and it is really taking off.”

She adds that unemployment is one of their major priorities but they now have a database of people in the community and they are getting work with help from the City of Cape Town and social development.

While the change in the community is noticeable, she feels there is still a lot of work to be done. “Our biggest needs are a permanent venue to work from as an office to assist with meetings, a soup kitchen, mobile clinic and storage place for all equipment and more. We also welcome financial assistance to buy more supplies for our gardening project or ingredients for our soup kitchen that feeds up to 170 people.”

Trout also says there are plans to collaborate with surrounding suburbs with some of their future projects.
For more information about the project call Trout on 076 474 1024.

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