Aida supports Operation Hunger with holiday home competition
Operation Hunger, one of the oldest and most respected charities in South Africa, has made a dramatic impact on the lives of thousands of citizens who did not know where their next meal was to come from.
The community at Jane Furse in the Sekhukhuni district of Limpopo is a striking example of what can be achieved if people are just given a chance to help themselves. When Operation Hunger established a centre there in the early 1980s, malnutrition among children was rife and many people went to bed at night without a meal.
The bleak landscape did not encourage farming on any scale, water was very scarce and access to shops was difficult. There was very little economic activity and people were so poor that they would not have been able to afford to buy food, even had any been available.
Today, many residents of Jane Furse are employed, growing indigenous trees and rose bushes for sale, working at the brick-making yard, farming and growing their own vegetables, says Operation Hunger’s regional co-ordinator, Frans Themba.
“The first project was a soup kitchen to feed people and to combat severe malnutrition among children,” says Themba, who has been at the centre for the past 20 years.
“But the main objective was to help the community to stand on its own feet. We rented a farm with access to water and allowed residents to claim small plots on which to grow vegetables for their own use. Then we started a nursery and trained workers in the finer arts of horticulture.
Today, the nursery is thriving and regularly supplies orders for indigenous trees.
“Small-scale farming, and later large-scale farming, followed once we started drilling boreholes to supply irrigation water. Fresh produce is sold to vendors and on the market. We also started a small brickmaking enterprise, which has grown under the able supervision of Solly Malata who has managed the business for the past 15 years. The enterprise now employs six local workers and supplies bricks to the local market.
“Mr Malata has also just formed a partnership with a tractor owner in order to solve his transport problems. He is now able to source sand and cement from local suppliers, keeping income circulating within the community.”
The project at Jane Furse has matured and malnutrition and water-borne diseases are now virtually unknown. But many communities in South Africa still need a helping hand. Operation Hunger relies on donations from the public and private companies and it is with great appreciation that the organisation has joined forces with real estate group, Aida National Franchises, to raise funds.
“Aida is running a competition in which the lucky winner will receive a holiday home worth R1-million in the popular holiday town of Knysna. Tickets at R50 each may be bought at any Aida agency, Operation Hunger offices, and on the City Lodge website.