Orphans to benefit from food gardens
More than 200 orphans stand to benefit from the community garden project initiated by the Mpumalanga social development department.
The department has donated R50000 to the project and MEC Fish Mahlalela officially opened the centre yesterday.
The project, called the Thuthukani Drop-in Centre, is situated in Leslie, near Secunda.
The centre has 25 volunteers.
"We need to develop the capacity of communities to produce food for themselves by setting up both household and communal food gardens," Mahlalela said.
"Food security and good health are important in the fight against hunger and poverty."
The project has provided gardening opportunities for the physical and social benefit of the people of Mpumalanga.
Mahlalela said there was a need to encourage people to go back to growing vegetables in order to survive.
"We have to promote food gardens as one of several measures to tackle the problem of hunger and malnutrition in our communities," Mahlalela said.
He said community gardening was intended to promote healthy eating habits and other foodrelated issues since South Africa had an alarmingly high level of malnutrition.
"Though this is an income generating project, we have a responsibility towards children in need and vulnerable groups generally," Ellen Dludlu, the centre's manager, said.
Mahlalela urged the youth to volunteer their services to help with the eradication of malnutrition.