Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network is honouring National Women’s Day, 9 August 2020, by celebrating the outstanding leadership of the women working with the organisation to provide sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable groups. Among them are five remarkable women who help to drive Mhani Gingi’s initiatives to combat food insecurity among marginalised communities during COVID-19. This is being done through three soup stations Mhani Gingi is overseeing in Cape Town. The food is generously donated by Ladles of Love and others who also tirelessly look for food donations from other individuals and organisations.
Gladys Gobodo is helping to feed vulnerable children in the Athlone/Mannenberg area. Vanessa Baadjies is team leader of 25 people with physical disabilities who are providing soup kitchens that feed hundreds of people every week in the impoverished Uitsig Community on the Cape Flats. Cordelia Romes, Principal of Blouvlei School for Learners with Special Needs (LSN), is assisting Mhani Gingi’s soup station in the Retreat area and providing other support. Tabisa Mahlathi, Mhani Gingi Project Co-ordinator, manages the Mhani Gingi Organic Herb and Vegetable Seedling Nursery which supports the three soup stations and Mhani Gingi’s various community food gardens established in Cape Town communities.
She is assisted by Nursery Assistant, Vuyisa Tekwana, who has been able to acquire a home and support her two children through employment at the Nursery since Mhani Gingi’s inception 15 years ago.
The three Mhani Gingi soup stations helping to meet the expanded need for food resulting from the COVID-19 lockdown are a continuation of the usual work of Mhani Gingi and these remarkable women, to alleviate poverty in vulnerable communities in Cape Town. Mhani Gingi will feature their stories throughout Women’s Month 2020 in South Africa. The holistic Mhani Gingi approach is well illustrated by the involvement of the women social entrepreneurs in the propagation of seedlings, right through to the delivery of nutritious, cooked meals directly to hungry people on the streets of our communities.
Using what they have
“These women are not waiting around for someone or something to come and help them to solve the problems in their communities,” said Lillian Masebenza, Founding Director of Mhani Gingi, who is an award-winning social entrepreneur and an Ashoka Fellow. “These women take the initiative and ‘use what they have’ to help to solve problems and meet the challenges in their communities. This has always been the approach that Mhani Gingi advocates. Mhani Gingi doesn’t just talk; we walk the talk.”
Each soup station feeds about 200 people – and often more in Uitsig Community – twice a week, amounting to about 1 200 hungry people being fed per week by Mhani Gingi. The name ‘Mhani Gingi’ is taken from the Shangaan words for an industrious woman. “We also want to take this opportunity to thank Ladles of Love for the generous donations of the food, making it possible for Mhani Gingi to feed hundreds of vulnerable people every week,” added Masebenza.
WOW! ANOTHER DONATION FROM LADLES OF LOVE BOOSTS MHANI GINGI’S EFFORTS COMBATING HUNER AND FOOD INSECURITY IN OUR VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
Another donation from Ladles of Love, this time of cooking and kitchen equipment, has boosted Mhani Gingi’s efforts at three Soup Stations which are feeding hungry people nutritious meals to provide food security in the greater Cape Town area in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network is a non-profit organisation which for the past 15 years has pursued a mission to alleviate poverty and hunger through providing sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable communities, mostly situated on the Cape Flats and in the Cape Town area. The need among these beneficiaries of Mhani Gingi has been impacted by the lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 virus in the country.
Founding Director of Mhani Gingi, Lillian Masebenza, was overjoyed on Thursday 18 June 2020 when a delegation led by the founder of the Ladles of Love organisation, Danny Diliberto, delivered a generous donation of two cookers, two large cooking pots, soup ladles and other kitchen equipment and utensils to assist Mhani Gingi’s soup kitchens that are preparing and distributing food in Cape Town communities presently.
Since May 2020, Mhani Gingi has received welcome twice-weekly donations of vegetables, rice, maize and other supplies from the Ladles of Love initiative. These donations have boosted the efforts of Mhani Gingi’s three Soup Stations situated in Mannenberg/Athlone, Uitsig Community, and at Blouvlei LSN School for Learners with Special Needs in Retreat. Each of the food stations feeds about 200 people, totalling about 600 vulnerable individuals being assisted by Mhani Gingi. This amounts to about 1 200 people being fed per week.
Targeting vulnerable groups
The three Soup Stations represent the target groups of Mhani Gingi, which include vulnerable women and children, people with disabilities, and youth with special needs.
Mhani Gingi network member, Gladys Gobodo, feeds vulnerable children in the Mannenberg/Athlone area of the Cape Flats. A group of 25 people with disabilities under team leader, Vanessa Baadjies, maintains community food gardens at Uitsig Primary School and at the Uitsig Community Centre, supervised by Mhani Gingi. The group also provides a community soup kitchen which feeds elderly and hungry people in Uitsig, Ravensmead.
“These are not just once-off soup kitchens but a continuation of our work with vulnerable groups in our communities,” said Lillian Masebenza, Founding Director of Mhani Gingi. “I am so thankful for the donations from Ladles of Love which goes so well with the work we are doing on a daily basis.”
The supplies from Ladles of Love are distributed by the team from Mhani Gingi Organic Herb and Seedling Nursery, led by Project Co-ordinator, Tabisa Mahlathi, to the cooks preparing food at the three Soup Stations.
Ladles of Love supplies soup kitchens and shelters, supporting more than 100 beneficiaries and non-profit entities in Cape Town, according to the organisation’s website. Ladles of Love has expanded its activities significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the website said. The Ladles of Love initiative started in 2014 when Diliberto was inspired to reach out to homeless people.
For further information contact Founding Director, Lillian Masebenza, on mobile phone +27 082 465 4687.
SPEKMANIA! LANDS AT MHANI GINGI
Aligned with our environmental efforts under the Flagship Programme, Mhani Gingi is championing the spekboom in its vision as a fighter against climate change specifically because of the plant’s exceptional carbon storage capabilities.
By Mhani Gingi Trustee Dr. Earl Starr
Commonly known as ‘spekboom’ (directly translated as ‘porkbush’), the wonder plant, Portulacaria Afra, is indigenous to South Africa. It serves as food for elephants and other wildlife in its native habitat of the Eastern Cape and can grow up to 6 m tall. Once considered just an ornamental bonsai plant outside of its home range of South Africa, the shrub is rapidly gaining attention for its exceptional carbon storage capabilities.
Aligned with our environmental pillar under the Flagship Programme, Mhani Gingi has championed the spekboom in our vision as a fighter against climate change specifically because of its ability to store more carbon than tropical rain forests. Looking at more short-term benefits to our network members, we will build on the existing model of community vegetable gardens to further empower communities towards sustainable livelihoods.
The support from funders for seedling tray donations to our community gardeners will in turn provide a steady supply of spekboom into the two resale channels of 1) bulk seedling sales for private gardens and public open spaces and 2) potted mature plant sales in handcrafted baskets from crafters with disabilities at the Uitsig Community Centre.
FIVE reasons to adopt a spekboom
- This proudly South African plant is easy to grow … with excellent soil binding properties to reduce erosion.
- It is water-wise and super resilient … even in extreme weather conditions!
- It is rich in basic nutrients … yes, that’s right, it is edible and also has known healing properties.
- Known to live up to 200 years old, spekboom stimulates biodiversity, enabling other plants to grow and live near it … and it is an important fodder for local herbivores.
- More importantly, it helps to fight climate change … acting as a carbon sponge to improve the quality of the air we breathe.
Spekboom products for private and coffee shop table applications
SpekMania is taking off in a BIG way … so don’t get left behind on the ‘hot climate’ seat! Place your order now before stocks run out.
For further information contact Founding Director Lillian Masebenza on mobile phone +27 082 465 4687.