Project: Addressing poverty through improving food and water security for community care centres in Tafelkop, by Caroline Rathokolo and Nelson Thaba.

Caroline and NelsonThe Khulumani Support Group is ‘a membership-based organisation of more than 100,000 victims and survivors of Apartheid-related gross human rights violations in South Africa’ (khulumani.net). Caroline Rathokolo and Nelson Thaba are members of Khulumani working in communities close to Tafelkop, in the Sekhukhune District Municipality in Limpopo. Their changing practice project is focussing on a number of community hubs in two areas: an orphanage, a community centre and a school in Ga-Botha, and a school and a feeding centre in Ga Kopa. They are trying to encourage and support the development of food gardens at the schools and in people’s own yards, and to connect the orphanage and feeding centres to wider networks of government and business, to enable them to receive greater support. They have experienced first hand that sufficient nutritious food and clean water is the first step towards alleviating poverty - it allows children to concentrate at school, and helps to keep them healthy and strong.

As changing practice participants, they are also using their growing confidence and networking skills to build important relationships between these care centres and officials in the Department of Social Development. In Caroline’s own words:

“On the 16 September 2016, I met a SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) employee from Groblersdal in a taxi to Mokopane. SASSA’s focus is to see every child, orphan, disabled person and old people getting grants. She referred me to another SASSA employee, who referred me to a social worker who went to the Ga-Botha orphanage centre to verify those orphans. She promised to help them by taking them to court case and to go through the long process of receiving the correct grant…

We want people to have small gardens in their homes, and the vegetables will help our community to get fresh products from the soil that will help them to prevent malnutrition and they can also sell the crops to generate an income to families…

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Speaking of poverty, in this area there are orphans who need serious intervention. There are matriculants who are at home due to a lack of finance to further their studies. We don’t want them to go in to deeper poverty. We want them to be change agents in these areas. We should work together with Department of Social Development, to build an NPO that will offer life skills, computer skills and other short term courses for free. Some of our achievements are that we managed to secure donations of sanitary pads, groceries, school shoes and stationery. We got these donations through our changing practice course”.

Caroline and Nelson are exploring the connections between poverty, nutrition, water security and community development, and are acting as dynamic agents of change in their communities. Well done, and keep up the great work.