By Ashok Ramsarup :: Poverty and human suffering have been some of the factors that are wreaking havoc around the world since the outbreak of the coronavirus engulfed communities. South Africa’s humanitarian aid organisation Gift of the Givers are hoping to turn the tide at the dawn of the World Hunger Day on Friday.
Gift of the Givers Executive Director Dr Imtiaz Sooliman has encouraged South Africans to rally together in finding a solution to meet the challenges to help the needy and destitute overcome hunger.
Dr Sooliman says the organisation’s main objective is to end hunger as it continues with its project to provide nutritional food to the poor and hungry. “Our goal is to prevent starvation as hunger and food insecurity in many households are shocking since the lockdown,” he says.
“South Africans are desperate for a glimmer of hope in a year that can only be described as physical, emotional and economic carnage. The intervention to motivate, inspire and encourage need not be colossal, any action promoting dignity, self-sustainability and self-belief can lead to a momentous change in mindset in the most challenging circumstances of our time under Covid-19.
Gift of the Givers is aiming to achieve that intervention on World Hunger Day with a very simple event at Narsingh Street Primary School in a very disadvantaged area in Graaff-Reinet, which is situated in the Eastern Cape.
Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy will address scores of learners who have been selected from 10 schools to be environmental ambassadors to promote cleanliness of open spaces, (creating a sense of pride through responsible behaviour), discouraging dumping, educating communities on recycling (a means of income), and nurturing the intended establishment of vegetable gardens at their respective schools. Each ambassador will receive a Gift of the Givers t-shirt, medal and certificate signed by Minister Creecy.
Gift of the Givers Dr Gideon Gronewald, who is a specialisthydrologist, paleontologist, geologist, will focus on discharging water from the latest borehole being drilled currently at the school, while the minister will open the tap to commence irrigation of the one thousand square metre “patch” on the school site which has been prepared by the bulldozers.
Dr Sooliman has appealed for agricultural implements and seeds for immediate planting -commencing a food garden on World Hunger Day – to serve as a source of nourishment within 60-90 days, even during the school holidays, to alleviate endemic hunger experienced by large numbers of the population.
He says the project will be a walkabout outside the school to commence cleaning of waste, with the hope that parents and the wider community will participate. Graaff-Reinet Recyclers will be on site to direct the process of collection and separation of waste to transform rubble into Rand.
Various role-players, including Eastern Cape MEC for Environmental Affairs Mlungisi Gerald Mvoko, Beyers Naude Municipality Mayor Deon de Vos, representatives from the Graaff-Reinet municipality, principals, educators are expected tograce the event
Gift of the Givers has drilled boreholes at ten schools in Graaff-Reinet. Drip irrigation systems, grading the school land for vegetable garden sites, providing implements, seeds and education and actively pursuing the cleaning of the environment outside all these schools will commence within days. Gift of the Givers will cover all costs. Narsingh Street Primary School will receive trees as a gift from Minister Creecy on the day.
Dr Sooliman adds that the organisation strongly believes that the simple intervention planned for World Hunger Day can serve as a catalyst for Graaff-Reinet and the country as a whole where every citizen considers how to make a simple, meaningful contribution in the most efficient manner.
Meanwhile the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign together with all allies will be convening an online climate justice assembly with parliament, as part of World Food Day tomorrow. The organisation has called for an end to hunger, thirst, pollution and climate harm. The organisation says in a statement that the assembly with parliament will be preceded by 68 localised and community-led actions across the country highlighting the urgency of these concerns. The statement adds that 68 local actions are happening in solidarity with actions of the Orange Mask Campaign against corruption, calling for an end to “hunger, thirst, pollution and climate harm” that are greatly impeded by the ongoing corruption in the public and private sectors.