Workers help food garden grow

Community Work Programme workers, Monise Hermanus, from City Mission, Rolene April, from Masincedane informal settlement, health and safety officer Mogamat Nur Arendse, supervisor Ruwayda Curnow and Fuzlin Botha, from Masincedane informal settlement.

Community Work Programme (CWP) workers have taken their role in helping their neighbours a step further by planting a food garden.

The Community Work Programme is a national government project where programme participants, who are unemployed, do community work and expand service delivery in poor communities.

The workers work about eight days a month and earn a stipend.

Before CWP workers were tasked with beautifying and tidying public spaces but in the past month in a bid to secure food they planted vegetables on a plot in Opperman’s Oord, off Camp Road in Strandfontein.

CWP supervisor Ruwayda Curnow said the produce belonged to the community and that they were determined to sharpen their gardening skills and get their hands dirty.

The plot is located in front of Ms Curnow’s house, where she can keep a close eye on it because previous attempts to plant in Masincedane informal settlement saw thieves ripping out the vegetables and damaging their perimeter.

“Here my neighbours and I will keep an eye out,” Ms Curnow said.

Ms Curnow said it would be best for donors to contribute to the garden by giving fertiliser, soil, seeds and seedlings, in order to teach people how to source their own food.

“I don’t like it when the kids have to stand in line for food from different organisations, while these organisations are taking pictures,” she said. “We need to teach people how to fend for themselves and help them to be able to feed their families.”

Ms Curnow said once the garden is up and running they could have their own soup kitchen and they would work hard to sustain the garden.

Rolene April, 39, said she has been living in Masincedane informal settlement for 25 years. “It is a help for us because we can’t get better work,”she said.

Health and safety officer Mogamat Nur Arendse, also Ms Curnow’s husband, said the vegetables planted last week would be ready for harvesting in three months time.

DA proportional representative (PR) councillor Bernie Clarke gave them seedlings.

Ms Curnow is due to complete a gardening course with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Cape Flats (“Residents taught urban gardening skills”, Plainsman April 24).

For more information about the gardening project, call Ms Curnow on 064 188 4843.