Garden of Angels
Mhani Gingi Trustee, Joan Wright, champion and leader of the Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network’s Social Responsibility Programme, tells the story of how a group of six women linked to the Angels Paradise Early Childhood Development (ECD) school run by Katryn Booysen in Ottery, Cape Town, created a Garden of Angels.
“On Wednesday 25 January (2017), we visited Angels Paradise ECD in Ottery. We were introduced to this centre by our friends and collaborators at AfriCAN Charity. Angels Paradise was in fear of being de-registered by DSD (the Department of Social Development) for non-compliancy regarding their structure. AfriCAN Charity stepped in and did a beautiful make-over, ensuring that compliancy is met. The beautifully ‘newly-loved’ and spruced-up structure with its brightly decorated walls is the pride of Katryn, the principal.
Being situated in the heart of Philippi/Ottery farmlands, the ground of Angels Paradise provided sufficient space for the development of vegetable gardens for both consumption and the possibility of income-generating opportunities.
These gardens will also provide an integral part of the daily programme for the children. The different plots are designed in different shapes and the children will be involved in the care and maintenance of the garden as per their daily programme, thus providing a ‘hands-on’ learning opportunity in food security, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
The parents have been included to work in the garden and take co-ownership.
The ground required serious clearing and a deep hole covered. The first challenge given to the group of six ladies was to fill in the hole…
Challenge 2 was to prepare a 5 X 4 plot. Challenge 3 was to divide this plot into two squares and a rectangle.
Challenge 4 was to obtain water rites from the neighbouring farmer
We, at Mhani Gingi, had ensured that the seedlings were ready for planting and that compost was available for nourishing the plots. On Wednesday 8th February, planting took place.
The group, known as Garden of Angels Entrepreneurs, gathered to decide on the various job portfolios and take co-ownership for these. Ground rules were jointly decided upon.
On our departure, Garden of Angels Entrepreneurs were given Challenges 5, 6 and 7 to be completed prior to our next visit on Wednesday 15 February.
Challenge 5 was to support the beds to prevent soil erosion during watering.
Challenge 6 – passion, enthusiasm and involvement from the children.
Challenge 7 was to prepare a plot in a triangle and plant remaining seedlings.
On 15th February the ladies formally accepted their response-ability titles and signed their formal contract.
Marigolds were donated and planted to ensure organically grown veggies and to attract any “pests” away from the veggies.
Challenge 8 was to ensure that the rest of the area was ready for planting and to maintain and care for the seedlings. Our next visit would be on 1 March.
Our visit on 1 March introduced the Value Exchange Currency – the GRAND. Built into this word is GRowing ourselves, GRowing as a team and GRowing our rands (business). The value exchange was established. Not all the ladies were present. Being the first of the month, social grants needed to be collected.
As all the tasks had been completed to the satisfaction of the quality Checker,Thabisa, R210 GRANDS had been “banked”. This enabled the ladies to “Shop” to that value and they purchased a 200 plug tray of tomato seedlings and 3 x six-packs of lettuce from the mobile Mhani Gingi Nursery “shop”. Garden of Angels was in credit to 60 GRANDS.
Awesome work, ladies.
Challenges 9 and 10 are to teach the children the Angels Song, and to run a meeting to ensure the “missing” ladies are part of the decision-making process.
Challenge 11 is to plant and nurture the tomatoes and lettuce seedlings and collect bottles for vertical gardens and herb-planting.
Ons KAN was used to encourage one another and thank team members for their valued input.
Our next visit was on 15 March. Out task was to have a list of available herbs with the attached GRAND value, ensure certificates are printed and a photo of each team member ready for attaching on to our vision board ( End Result – ER).
The R.G.G kindergarten is situated in Marcus Garvey, a rastafari area in the Philippi township. The educare celebrated its one-year anniversary in July 2010. The kindergarten had then gone through a transformation from being situated in a small shack with the roof falling through, until consisting of a new shack and a container including some books and stationary for the kids. The women explain this transformation by elaborating on the importance of taking the first step yourself. They express how vital it is to start doing something instead of just waiting for others to take action. “If you want to start something, you first need to have movement, and then help will come”, says Siyasanga, one of the founders. The Mhani Gingi network is formed by women who have the same spirit as Siyasanga and her “sisters”. It is vital to work with people who are proactive, for the projects to be successful.Today, the construction of the shack is not sufficient to last another winter. The temperature gets too low for the little kids, and the roof cannot bear heavy rain. Fortunately, one of Mhani Gingi’s former volunteers, Nicole Holzberg, has been very dedicated to help the women and their little educare. She has been fundraising for a new structure to replace the old shack. Mhani Gingi hopes the resources will be available in the nearest future, for the rebuilding to be completed by the time winter starts in June 2011.