The Rotary clubs of Polokwane, Pietersburg 100 and Mokopane have partnered with Blessman International and Rotary International to teach learners from 10 schools in Limpopo how to farm with excellence and to also provide fresh vegetables for themselves. Siloe School for the Blind is one of the beneficiaries.
At each of the schools, five representatives, educators, parents and students were identified to attend a six day training course at the Blessman International training and research farm. Each of these 50 representatives received three days of classroom training along with two or three days of training in the field. Each school was given garden tools, drip irrigation lines and a jojo watering tank to mix farm chemicals. Following the training, members of Rotary along with staff from Blessman International travelled to each of the schools to assist them in preparing and planting a garden. In addition, the schools were each trained in the value of feeding children with fresh produce from their own gardens.
The goal of the program, in addition to helping feed the children high quality produce. is to actually teach and motivate the students in how to prepare and plant their own gardens at their homes. After the first training in agriculture a second training session was held for all 50 participants, teaching them agricultural business and simple budgeting. The second session was a three day training at Blessman International’s home campus at Shikwaru.
This project is funded by a global grant from Rotary International with the Rotary Club of Pietersburg 100 being the host club. The total value of the grant is approximately R2 million. Much of the funding will be used over the next three years to do follow up visits to each of the schools to monitor their progress and continue educational and motivational efforts.
Blessman International is a United States-based initiative and has three campuses, one is a feeding centre and farming local cooperative in Sekgakgapeng near Mahwelereng. The other is a research farm in Sterkrivier and the administrative head office is located at Shikwaru Estate in Sterkrivier.
Previously Blessman International have partnered with the Rotary Club of Polokwane to provide complete water systems in 12 impoverished rural schools in Limpopo.
Story: Barry Viljoen