South Deep develops food gardens for host community schools
Johannesburg, 20 September 2018: Gold Fields Limited’s South Deep mine and the South Deep Education Trust are committed to supporting nutrition and food security in the Rand West City host communities through a range of programmes, including the provision of vegetable gardens to local schools.
Food insecurity and high poverty levels are a worrisome reality in most communities in the local municipality. “Poor socio-economic conditions in our communities make it imperative that children are given healthy meals at schools. The South Deep Education Trust has decided to support initiatives that are aimed not only at improving nutrition at our schools, but also at empowering our schools and communities to strive towards self-sufficiency,” says Alex Khumalo, Chairperson of the South Deep Education Trust.
The National Department of Education has been running school nutrition programmes at most schools in the Rand West City Local Municipality. These programmes have not only provided much needed nutrition to pupils but have also resulted in increased school attendance, declining drop-out rates and improved learning abilities among learners.
South Deep and the South Deep Education Trust have now launched an extension to this programme by funding vegetable gardens in selected schools. “The vegetable gardens will focus on increasing the nutritional quality of the daily meals, as well as providing vegetables to households in need. The schools will manage the project while South Deep will provide funding and closely monitor the impact,” says Puseletso Matete, Head of Sustainable Development and Environment at South Deep.
The programme will start with four schools: Kgothalang and Simunye secondary schools in Bekkersdal, TM Letlhake Secondary in Simunye and Thusa-Setshaba Secondary in Poortjie. The clean-up and digging of tunnels in which the vegetables are grown was completed by a local SME, Kunga Holdings, which employed six people during construction. The projects will be operational at the end of September.
“A further eight jobs will be created for a 12-month period as two gardeners per school will be working on the project and take responsibility for the success of the vegetable gardens, while being mentored to increase their agricultural knowledge and skills,” says Geralda Wildschutt, Unit Manager Sustainable Development at South Deep.
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