This week, All Africa reported that Khayelitsha Schools in South Africa are harvesting their own vegetable gardens in response to the country’s drought and rising food prices. According to the founder of the Ikhaya Food Garden at Isikhokele Primary School, these gardens are assisting students from poor households who have little to nothing to eat. The garden teaches students the importance of a green environment, and has sparked a passion for farming amongst the wider Khayelitsha population. More information on the gardens can be found here.
I chose to highlight this story because I too planted vegetable gardens in the Khayelitsha Township during my December 2012 study abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa. I remember our bus arriving to the township which was lined with disheveled houses, some of which had been constructed out of scrap material that could be found alongside the roads. I remember seeing a few of the young children playing in the streets barefoot when we walked through the township to meet with the community service organization that had coordinated this opportunity for us. Even in their unfortunate living conditions, I remember the children of the township all having smiles on their faces.
The young children insisted on helping us till the land and plant the seeds for the vegetable gardens in their community. Despite the strenuous manual labor that it took to plant the gardens throughout the township, this activity was the highlight of my Cape Town trip! It felt good to be engaging in service that was going to have such a positive impact on the community. Going overseas and experiencing a new culture is rewarding, but there is no greater gift than being a gift to someone else.
Today, I encourage you to make a difference in the world! You do not have to necessarily take on an international initiative. There are numerous ways to give back to the community right here in the United States. Social media and crowd funding have made it possible to donate to various charitable organizations that are of interest to you. Additionally, social media platforms such as Twitter, can provide you with information on community service opportunities that are taking place in your local community. Do something that can change the course of someone's life for the better.
Here is a picture of my classmates and I playing with some of the children in the township after we planted the vegetable gardens together.