7th Grade Gardeners
The 7th grade class at the Lehlononolo School (which means “Blessings” in Sotho) in Guguletu has taken on the responsibility of tending a garden with longtime volunteer, David. David started the garden in 2009 with government support. After a few years, government support decreased; David found himself having to use his own money to purchase seeds and seedlings to grow vegetables that enhance meals at the school. Most of the students of Lehlononolo live nearby and walk to school; enrollment is approximately 240 students from Grade R (kindergarten) to Grade 7. It is a government school so the tuition is low – about R200 or $20 per year – but does not include the additional costs of required school uniform and supplies.
Acacia Global has been a friend to the Lehlononolo School for many years. It is the school that Neo attends (who you met in previous blogs) and where his mother, Lydia, volunteers each morning to cook meals for the students. After several visits, we noticed that the garden was not doing well. Six months ago, we talked to David to find out what obstacles he had encountered with the gardens. The first thing that he mentioned was lacking manure to fertilize them. They have a compost pile and rain barrels, but it wasn’t enough to keep the soil in good growing condition. He also needed more seedlings to keep up with the demand in the kitchen.
Acacia Global agreed to fund David and his garden with the stipulation that they involve students in the garden process. We hoped students could learn responsibility and also learn how to grow the vegetables they were enjoying each day. The 7th grade class decided they they wanted to take part in the garden program. As you can see from the photo, they were very proud to work with David and each other. The vegetables that they grow include spinach, cabbage, beetroot, beans, butternut squash, corn, pumpkin, carrots, onion and lettuce. Besides tending the garden and seeing their efforts grow, they also said it helped them understand what teamwork was all about.
Acacia Global is honored to be able to assist David and the 7th grade class with their garden program. We are as excited as they are to see the fruits of their labor!