Trees for Africa proves eco-entrepreneurship is a great career for differently abled youths
Food & Trees for Africa, the South African social and environmental enterprise, is dedicated to making a difference.
For example, it supports community groups to teach more communities about permaculture food gardens.
The organisation has also seen a gap in the need for employment options for differently abled people, and has programmes in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng that focuses solely on creating job opportunities for children in special-needs schools.
“The learners go through this training programme, and we encourage the schools to allow them to shadow at a nursery or other places where they can learn landscaping skills or [using] a brush cutter to do garden maintenance,” says Bharathi Tugh, KwaZulu-Natal branch manager at Food & Trees for Africa.
The programme has received positive reviews and support from parents and the broader community for placing more learners with disabilities into the labour market.
“There are a number of success cases where students work as groundskeepers at schools, have their own businesses where they get into brush cutting, or work at nurseries as assistants,” says Tugh.
The training curriculum deals with soil management, harvesting, sales and business management. Some of the learners who were trained have gone on to start their own small businesses.
Tugh stresses that agriculture has created numerous options for youths who can profit by learning about it.
Apart from its programme for differently abled learners, Food & Trees for Africa also focuses on food security, greening initiatives, climate-change mitigation strategies, and helping communities to sustain themselves with adequate foods for household consumption, among other initiatives.