Sibahle Community Project
The Sibahle Community Project is a Non-Profit Food Project located in the Soweto Township of Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Sibahle Community’s goal is to create a sustainable network of people in a community, working together to feed and care for each other, using human ingenuity and readily available resources.
There are 31 primary care clinics in the Johannesburg Metro area. Each clinic provides entry into the health care system for public health patients. Many of them are unemployed or too ill to work. The ARVs and Tuberculosis treatment many of them take cannot be taken without food. For a population who cannot afford a meal or who must wait for hours to treatment without access to food, this makes compliance a challenge and an obstacle. This also makes for a social problem where resistant tuberculosis strains develop because people are to able to take their medication in a consistent way.
The goal of Sibahle is to empower such people to sustain themselves using available resources. Each clinic in the system has available resources in the form of access of unused land, water, and security. The first pilot project is attached to the Tladi Clinic where we are striving to create an entirely community driven veggie garden to supply fresh produce to our soup kitchen and thus both feed hungry patients and give them a sustaining project that they can have ownership of. In the long term producing and preparing enough food to feed critically ill patients will help support the efficacy of the medications they already take. We also aim to provide a platform where all people in the community can get trained in food growing and have access to immune boosting healthy food.
This project is not about a hand out. It is about empowerment, giving patients who have lost dignity and self esteem by being out of work and unable to provide for their families a chance to do something worthwhile every day. A reason to rally together with other members of their community to create something beautiful and beneficial. A means of putting food in hungry bellies and cultivating a sense of social responsibility between members of the community.
It has been over two years since the Sibahle Community began. Since it’s inception, it has successfully fed a hot meal, three times weekly, to an average of 50 public health patients a day. Many of these patients are HIV and TB patients who add a bowl delicious soup and bread to their routine of medicines. The meals are served at a first come first serve basis, no questions asked.
In the Spring of 2014, with the help of numerous sponsors and a group of dedicated volunteers, The Sibahle Community established a large multi-crop food garden. The garden is now supplying all the leafy greens and herbs for the meals, and will add in squash, root vegetables, and fruit as the season progresses.
The garden is becoming a meeting place where patients of all ages stop by to see what’s happening, sample the produce, and share stories.
Moving into 2015 we have a goal of increasing our garden and kitchen production to fill 100 bellies a day. With your help we can achieve this goal.
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