As a social enterprise, we are fortunate enough to work with a variety of not-for-profit organisations that are making incredible changes in South Africa. Their passion and drive to change the world for the better is truly inspirational and we are so grateful that we get to work together to make this possible and so we would love to share some of their stories with you.
We recently consulted with Hlumelelisa, a nonprofit based in Johannesburg. We were blown away by the detail in which their programs have been created and the impact that they have.
Through their projects, Hlumelelisa provides a second chance to sentenced offenders by offering them a 10-month AgriSETA accredited training course in horticulture.
Sentenced offenders are taught the theory behind this course as well as given the chance to learn practically through the creation of vegetable gardens in the prison grounds.
Hlumelelisa has found that the majority of the individuals who complete the program experience the healing power of nature and the environment. Many have reported that by nurturing plants, they have learnt to care for something for the first time in their lives and that they have learnt patience and teamwork. Having a set of skills that enables them to care for themselves and their families, and make a positive contribution to their communities, also restores a sense of hope and dignity.
Furthermore, horticultural skills in South Africa are rare and so this provides an incredible opportunity to sentenced offenders for employment or enterprise development, and even just a way to provide food for themselves and their families after their release. Given how difficult it is to find work in South Africa, and with increasing numbers of South Africans suffering from poverty and hunger, being able to put food on the table is a very valuable skill to have.
These skills can also be transferred to friends and family members, potentially benefiting entire communities and addressing the growing problem of food insecurity in a sustainable way.
What really took us by surprise were the parole laws in South Africa. Once a sentenced offender has completed his or her sentence, they must serve their parole in the city in which they lived. This can be an extremely difficult experience for an individual looking to start their life again, as they often face backlash from their communities. This is where Hlumelelisa provides an incredible opportunity for restoration.
The food that is grown in the prison vegetable gardens as part of the practical component of the training course is given to nonprofits and local schools in the areas in which sentenced offenders are from. This is very beneficial for the mental health of the sentenced offenders. It provides them with the opportunity to give back and to develop a sense of worth they often lack. Furthermore, this act of giving is a peace offering to communities they have often harmed. It builds bridges and helps ease the transition they face when returning to society on parole.
We absolutely love how Hlumemelisa are making a difference in our country and we hope you do too, so if you would like to get involved with Hlumelelisa, click here for more information.