Itsoseng Garden – A greener Community after Mandela Day!

A day full of productivity, teamwork and cheerful people from all corners of the world! Project HOPE staff members in South Africa are constantly finding new projects and initiatives to help the rural communities around Johannesburg. The latest project was to establish and plant a sustainable herb garden in the community of Itsoseng. With some great help from the community members, volunteers and sponsors in the name of Mandela on the 17th of July, this became a great success!

What is ”Mandela Day”?        
andela Day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the admirable footsteps of Nelson Mandela, a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. Its objective is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better and, in doing so, to build a global movement for the good of mankind. 

“Mandela day is a day when people forget about themselves and give back to those less fortunate communities.  Interacting closely with such communities is a reality check. I think South African people are caring and humble people who have a giving spirit and are willing to help out if they can. It feels good to make a difference, to help the community. Everyone coming together as one - like Mandela would have wanted. Celebrating and living the true Madiba legend is what it’s all about”.
- Nadia Harvett, Human Resources Manager, Boston Scientific, South Africa.

Joyful day of gardening in Itsoseng
It was amazing how quickly a piece of dry land transformed into a living garden of herbs and vegetabes, with a bit of team work and a fantastic collective spirit. The enthusiasm was high all around and the gardeners’ excitement couldn’t be hidden. The singing and dancing hardly stopped throughout the day!
Project HOPEs aims with the project at Itsoseng was to revive the community garden next to the HOPE Centre Clinic and to train community members  on how to take care of their garden and make it sustainable. The aim of the garden is to promote a healthy lifestyle, reduce food security issues, and to create an income for the garden members.  So far it has been a real success story!

“I’m so happy and excited about this new garden. I have worked in a garden before at my previous job as a domestic worker. There were also herbs so I have a bit of experience. I have no job at the moment so I will definitely be here every day to look after the garden. I’m looking forward to see the plants grow.”
- Thokoziale Mashaba, Gardener of Itsoseng community.
“It’s so enjoyable to be here, seeing all these people working together, creating something. Two days ago I was in Oxford Circus, in central London, surrounded by busy and stressed people, driven by consumerism - it’s such a different world. Here you find joy and a spirit of “living” that I think we have lost in the Western world. People are singing and dancing and are so excited to be a part of something, it’s a real eye-opener”. 
- Lesley Billington, volunteer and expat from UK

A herb garden reaps many benefits.

A herb garden has the benefit of motivating patients and local community members to use more herbs in their daily food which helps in reducing salt and spice intake. Additionally, in another garden project at a different community, we have been able to see the pride and joy that garden members experience by working together on the project and  enabling them to maintain a well-run and profitable group. To this end, all proceeds from selling produce from the garden are shared among the members. The HOPE clinic staff also teach the patients about the health benefits of using herbs in  food, which is  a great opportunity  for them to learn how to use these wonderfully scented and tasting herbs both in the kitchen and even for medicinal purposes.
Thank You!
We want to say THANK YOU to the kind sponsors that have played a substatial role in making the Mandela Day gardening project happen! We are also overwhelmed by the degree of engagement of all the volunteers that came to help us out, it’s truly heartwarming to see. A great team and great work!


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