Sustainable food program for underprivileged children

A fruitful year has passed, since the successful fundraising campaign during the “Chefs Who Share” event in 2015. We are happy and proud to report that our first “Food Revolution” in the “Funimfundo” nursery school within the De Koop township, close to Hermanus, has sustainably changed the children’s dietary habits.

The Veggiebox Initiative has made it possible to provide the children with three healthy meals per day from the very beginning. It is absolutely necessary to ensure that children and educators alike become familiar with fruits and vegetables, as well as other fresh and local ingredients. Because how would it be possible to motivate people to change their diets and grow their own vegetables, if the harvested goods were unfamiliar.

Therefore, no complicated explanations are required. After the initial scepticism faded, both children and educators are enthusiastic about the various new flavours and curious to learn how they could eventually grow their own vegetables.

The women discover how to make use of their knew knowledge and maintain a small vegetable garden for their family next to their house with very little financial effort.

I-med vision’s health training scheme offers regular courses on healthy childhood nutrition to educators. They learn about the importance of a balanced diet for the children’s physical and mental development. Many are shocked to hear that even in South Africa, children die from malnutrition.

An important part of the course is learning about urban gardening. Especially, because it takes special skills to conserve water, while growing vegetables in regions with arid soil, extreme winds and direct sunlight. The wooden boxes provide a good opportunity to supply sufficient amounts of water and nutrients.

Seminars are complemented by i-med vision’s interactive e-learning platform. This is particularly useful to refresh or look up specific content, gain access to recipes for a varied and healthy diet that are aligned with the conditions of a simple kitchen or to communicate with teachers between the trainings. Tablets are provided with which participants learn how to use mobile devices for educational purposes.

The scheme also incorporates regular trainings for the cook by professional chefs. This encourages self-confidence and motivation not to fall back into previous habits. She takes pride in seasoning her meals with fresh herbs instead of glutamate. The children now get to drink fresh herbal tea in place of sweetened juices and she is surprised how quickly they become familiar with unsweetened drinks.

After one year, part of the garden has transformed into a green oasis of vegetables.

The homegrown vegetables are harvested together with the children and processed in the kitchen. Nandipha is aware that a healthy meal contains lots of vegetables and fruit, carbohydrates and protein. It is not necessary to always eat meat or fish. Pulses are also tasty and additionally, a great source of protein.

She is proud to have been trained by a professional chef from the nearby vineyard and to be able to use a tablet for her education. Somehow it feels like the horizon of the people in De Koop has shifted. Nadipha’s expression sums up what words can hardly describe

Our greatest joy though, is to experience how the eyes of 40 children light up when they are standing in their garden and seem to truly love the plants. We can be sure that they are receiving the diet that we imagine for every child. Therefore we will carry on with our Food Revolution. We will continue to accompany the “Funimfundo” nursery school and offer our advice to answer all possible questions. We all know that change is a long process, which needs persistent care. The aim of i-med vision and the Veggiebox Initiative is to achieve sustainable development cooperation.