NGO needs help with food garden

Khaya le Themba volunteers working in the organisation’s food garden, from left, are Ntombifuthi Mhlahlo , Nosipho Dluthu and Nonyameko Busakhwe. Picture: Sara Clarke

A Hout Bay NGO is asking the public to help add to its compost heaps as part of its efforts to feed needy children and boost job creation.

Khaya le Themba (the home of hope) near Imizamo Yethu supports up to 120 children in Grades 1 to 6 daily, according to its director, Sara Clarke.

“We have a system for finding the most neediest children in the township and provide a home for them after school. We provide them a safe place to play, someone to help with homework, extra help in any school subject or life skill needed and a hot nutritious meal and food to take home,” she said.

The NGO started a 450m² food garden on its premises, but growing conditions are far from ideal.

“Our soil is so dead up here. It’s just sand, and our crop this year failed,” said Ms Clarke. “We got in some people who know what they’re doing, and they said that compost is going to be gold for us. So, together with three local unemployed mothers, two staff members and volunteer, Bonita Carr, we put together our first compost heap last month.

“We are currently renovating this garden to ensure our NGO is sustainable in both feeding our children but also creating a profit to fund our organisation.”

Ms Clarke credited Ms Carr with helping to get the project going.

Ms Carr said she had first visited iKhaya in mid-July. “On my visit, I felt so inspired by seeing the kids there, but when saw the back garden and saw it was in a terrible state, I decided to tackle this project,” she said.

“Food security is also very critical for any NGOs or NPOs as donor funds are drying up, so it is important that they work towards sustainability where they can support themselves.

“Our main focus for the next couple of months currently is turning the sand coming down the side of the mountain into good soil for growing food, which will be used to supplement the donations that they get in the kitchen, and nutrition is really important for kids. Once this is done we can begin regularly planting the crops.”

The garden needed steady funding and access to borehole water, she said.

“We’re trying to close the loop by becoming self-sustainable in the long run through sales of worm juice and Bokashi juice. The garden is also key in teaching the kids how to grow food, educating them about worm farms and this helps to instill in them environmental awareness,” Ms Carr said.

The Pelican restaurant has supported the composting project since last month.

Owner Anton Kooi said organic waste from the kitchen and bar was put into 20-litre buckets for collection.

“The organic waste includes all the pulp and peels from our freshly squeezed juices, all offcuts of veg from the kitchen, egg shells and used coffee grounds,” he said.

Ms Clarke said they received organic waste three times a week from the restaurant.

For more information, contact Sara Clarke at 079 092 2952 or

Some of the organic waste donated by The Pelican restaurant in Hout Bay. Picture: Anton Kooi