Realogile Secondary School is making a dent in the cost of educating particularly needy children while advancing learning.
This by supplementing the school’s two feeding schemes from its prolific vegetable and fruit garden operated by 10 Grade 11 members of the Eco Club who also benefit from it scholastically. The garden which has been operating for years was scaled up in 2012 by the Joburg City Council. It is blooming with spinach, cabbages, onions, beetroot, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, mint, coriander, garlic and fruit trees – grapes, lemons, apricots and peaches. The produce supplements the school’s feeding scheme and orphaned and vulnerable children from various schools who are supported by NPO Alexandra Child Care and Support Centre located at the school.
Teacher Thabo Seepe lauded the initiative saying it was started by retired teacher Anna Ndlovu an avowed environmentalist now in the Scout movement, as part of a waterwise project sponsored by Rand Water. “It’s now sponsored by Cummings, an engineering company, which supplied us with implements, a JoJo tank, irrigation system and contracted Food and Trees for Africa for expert advice and to encourage organic gardening.”
City Parks contributed netting cover for protection against birds and the sun. “The NPO comes thrice a year in the first term and on symbolic Mandela and Arbour days in July and September.”
Commending the garden club member, Thandazo Zondo said, “I intend replicating it at home to complement food supply and nutrition for the family.”
She urged authorities to create similar gardens in other areas to support school drops, ‘especially those addicted to the nyaope drug to keep them busy, provide them with an option for self-sufficiency and a potential for income to hopefully discourage them from the habit’.
Amogelang Tladi said they volunteered to the project which contributes to their tourism and life science studies. “It imparts knowledge to us on the importance of organic vegetables for home consumption and reduces family expenses.”
Lesego Mphahlele said they sometimes contribute the produce to funerals of destitute families and, ‘it’s touching to support needy orphaned and vulnerable children’. Khotso Chakela commended the organic aspect and use of herbs saying they have health benefits and reduce reliance on junk food.
They tend the beds with manure from food waste, supplied by the sponsors and grass cover which retains moisture for the crops before turning into fertile mulch. Also, they apply cross planting as pest repellent and to reduce reliance on pesticides.