Working to help the community
November 19 2014

In celebration of African Impact’s 10th anniversary this year, all volunteer projects were invited to create a garden which would benefit local communities.  The event took place on Nelson Mandela Day on July 18th.  Antelope Park volunteers worked alongside project staff to plant a garden at the site of the new Midlands Children’s Hope Centre orphanage.

Four months on and the garden is thriving, thanks to the commitment of staff and volunteers who continue to give their time and energy to tend the crops.  The garden was started to assist the orphanage towards long term self-sufficiency.  It provides enough fresh vegetables to sustain the boys who live there, while creating an income through the sale of excess produce, alongside the existing chicken project.  This revenue is used to fund the day-to-day orphanage needs, as well as provide a modest salary for the staff who work tirelessly to care for the boys.

Kine S. Endresen, a volunteer from Norway, enjoyed offering her assistance at the garden: ‘Last Friday we went to the new orphanage garden.  It’s only one man working there, and the garden is pretty big.  We helped to plough the onions which was a really fun experience, but it was really hot.  It’s crazy to think about that it’s just one man who is working in the garden, so it was nice helping him out.  The new orphanage garden has also got 600 chickens.  We fed them and gave them clean water.  It was a great day in the garden, and I really felt that I was helping out!’

Community volunteers also get a sense of satisfaction from assisting in Gweru’s understaffed polyclinics.  Spending time on basic tasks such as counting out medication and keeping treatment areas tidy allows nursing staff more time to devote to patient care.   These clinics always cater for large catchment areas with insufficient resources, so any help is appreciated.  

Jacinta Day, a medical volunteer from Australia spent time at Mkoba 1 Polyclinic: ‘Mamuka Sei? (How did you wake today?), Tamuka mamukawo (I woke well if you woke well). This is how my days volunteering in Mkoba 1 medical clinic begin, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The main job at Mkoba is to count the medicine and individually pack them so they are ready to hand out to patients when needed.  In between counting tablets, I may be quizzed or tested on my Shona skills (it has become a bit of a tradition).  They may even ask me things in Shona instead of English.  I believe what makes my time fly by in the clinic is the company I’m surrounded by.  I appreciate the time and effort the men and women take working at the clinic, even going unpaid due to still studying.  I’m learning every day and the African people are my one drive to keep returning to Zimbabwe.  I’m constantly asked why I’ve returned to Zimbabwe; my answer no longer is because I love Africa, it’s because I love its people.’

These projects are just two of the many supported by ALERT as part of our commitment to local communities who live alongside wildlife.  We work to promote community action in support of conservation by empowering people to protect and restore their environment and by improving their livelihoods through benefit sharing and social development programs.

You could join us in Africa.  Find out how here.


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