A Community Project in Polokwane
Employment opportunities for residents of Molamo in Polokwane are scarce. In this light the Molamo Agriculture Project seeks to tackle a two-fold problem – unemployment and food security. The project started in 2011 with six volunteers (women) and seeks to enhance the livelihoods of the volunteers and, in turn, the community. Ebrahim Tembane, the project leader, says that the project has not been without challenges. Over the past seven years they have run into problems with insects, excessively hot weather and inconsistent volunteer involvement. However, it has been a journey of growth and learning, and an achievement for the community. In 2011 the volunteers planted 85 fruit trees, including peach, naartjie, mango and orange trees. The fruits of this investment have literally been harvested since. Over the past year the team planted 34053 seedlings, which includes Chinese mustard spinach, spinach, beetroot and onions. These were sold to the community and the income generated shared between the volunteers and the running costs of the project. The project now has a borehole and water irrigation system to facilitate their work. The project has received two awards since inception. In 2012 the project received second place in the annual Women Farmers Competition Award at the Capricorn district in Limpopo, competing with over 50 other farms. In 2017 they again won second place in the competition, competing with over 100 farmers. Through the project nine women in the community gained farming skills, some of who have gone on to work on other farms; while others remain with the project. After having established the project the project leaders noticed another need in the community – children did not have a safe space to go to after school. The Paledi Drop-in centre was therefore established in 2015 alongside the farm through containers. It includes classrooms, a kitchen and office. Children from the community now come into the centre after school, are fed lunch and are assisted with their homework, academic development and personal. The centre is managed and led my Mrs Sebata, an ex-principal and educator par excellence.