When thinking about fundraising for the many projects at Uthando House, the SAVE committee have always tried to meet the immediate needs of the centre. However, it is also important to put into place solid foundations for the future, so that Uthando House can work towards being self-sustainable in the long term. With every project put into place, the children’s social and emotional wellbeing is always of the highest consideration.
In terms of sustainability, Project Food Security at Uthando House was established to assist the centre to be able to grow a garden to produce a range of fruit and vegetables that would feed the children at the centre. Many visitors to the centre have, in the past, tried to help with getting a vegetable garden started, but because of the lack of water and ongoing supervision, the gardens were not able to be tended to properly and were never successful enough to provide food.
The first step in getting the project underway was the connection of running water to the centre. They had 3 water tanks on site, but no actual water connection to the main water lines. The water tanks were occasionally filled by visitors to the centre who paid for water trucks to come, but mostly they relied on rain water to fill the tanks. In July 2016, SAVE Projects were able to fund and organise the connection of the water pipes to the mains.
This now allowed the centre access to unlimited running water 3 days a week, which meant they could also fill the water tanks without having to pay for the water. With a continuous and reliable water supply, they were now in a position to be able to maintain the garden beds once planted.
In September of 2016, SAVE provided Uthando House with funding to purchase seedlings and garden supplies to commence work on their garden beds. They initially purchased and planted Beetroot, Butternut, Spinach, Onions, Tomatoes, Lettuce and Green Peppers.
This is not just a project for the staff at Uthando House, it is important that the children are involved also. The garden is not only to be a source of food, it is also a vital therapy tool that the staff and social worker can use to help in the healing process for some of these children as well as giving them a sense of responsibility and a purpose at the centre.
The children’s self-esteem grows as they work together as a team for a common goal. They are able to work in the garden daily and see the fruit and vegetables grow. It provides the children with some valuable life skills, persistence in obtaining a result, reduces stress levels, helps them with direction to be able to overcome obstacles and teaches the children about success and failure.
“The children are so excited and they are happy about their vegetable gardens and they even cook for themselves. This vegetable garden has helped us a lot as we are no more buying so many vegetables. We just go to the garden and get fresh food”
~ Trecy Malope (Director and House Mother)
Project Food Security is fully funded by donations through SAVE Projects inc.