By Kent Linder, Operations Director
International Committee member David Plante and I visited Open Arms’ international projects in South Africa, and we saw some terrific impact.
One of the partnerships we support, the Social Justice Coalition, is making huge strides in their work of promoting clean sanitation in the townships around Cape Town. They’re involving more and more community members in their advocacy and education, and because of their work, the city has begun to hire employees to oversee sanitation projects.
Our support for another of the programs, Ikamva Labantu, is sponsoring the five gardeners who care for a number of the gardens surrounding several of their centers. They have recently started employing the gardeners full-time, which has completely changed the outlook of the gardeners, and their increased dedication is visible in the beautiful gardens that they keep.
Thanks to these gardens, 184 families in the surrounding community get boxes of fresh vegetables every other week, an important source of nutrition in this township where 1 in 4 people are living with HIV. Ikamva Labantu also uses some of the veggies in cooking demonstrations and wellness classes. While the gardens are a very new addition to their program, they see the benefit it is having in the community. It’s clear how similar their progress and success has been to our own Open Farms project in Minnesota; it’s a very wonderful thing!
The international program will be funding the gardeners again this year. We hope their new season is as successful!
If you’d like to support the work of these programs, please consider making a gift to Open Arms’ International Program.