Orphans grow own food

2016-02-16 06:00
Staff from the sponsoring companies and children at the Al Noor Orphanage Centre in Woodstock celebrate the launch of the centre’s fresh food garden.

Staff from the sponsoring companies and children at the Al Noor Orphanage Centre in Woodstock celebrate the launch of the centre’s fresh food garden.

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An orphanage in Woodstock has found a solution for some of its food needs.

Retail Consumer Solutions (RCS) has funded a R50 000 food garden for the Al Noor Orphanage Centre. The investment includes support and maintenance for a year.

Through the installation, maintenance and support of the organic food garden, the project has enabled the orphanage to grow its own fresh, nutrient-rich and chemical-free food.

Helping to make it possible were 23 RCS employees, Al Noor volunteers and Urban Harvest, the planting partner. RCS staff were allowed a paid day off to help with planting the garden from scratch over four days.

Ben Gertze, MD of Urban Harvest, says the orphanage has a strong leadership and cohesive team of staff who create a sense of safety, home and community for their youth.

“They have been hands-on in the garden and have made great use of it so far,” he says. “What’s more, the garden is coming along well, despite intense winds in the area.”

“With continued support from all parties, the aim is to ensure a highly productive garden that generates food, income and skills for Al Noor, the children and their surrounding communities,” says Colleen Carstens, CSI manager at RCS. “Together we have not only planted a garden but are helping to feed a community and contribute to growing their future.”

Amina Madien, founder and director of the orphanage, is very happy with the initiative.

“We are grateful to RCS and by extension to Urban Harvest for this great investment,” she says. “The philosophy behind the food garden is not just for eating; it teaches the children that in life whatever you sow it’s what you must reap and thus motivates the beneficiaries of the orphanage to be self-sustainable.”

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