Volunteers from the Student YMCA at UKZN spent their Mandela Day giving back to the community of Durban’s Quarry Heights area by clearing up an overgrown vegetable garden belonging to elderly women in the community.
The garden is part of the Edwaleni Educare Centre which the Student YMCA has worked with for years.
Programme Co-ordinator of the Student YMCA, Mr Bonga Mkhize, said they chose to clear the garden because the organisation works closely with the Edwaleni Educare Centre and it is a potential area for a food security programme.
Mrs Ethel Ntombela, who is in charge of the Centre, said that the women had been keen to re-establish the garden to provide healthy food for the centre.
Said Mkhize: ‘The Student YMCA is starting a food security programme so we took on the challenge of the garden. Mandela Day was the ideal time to get it done and at the same time to involve the community and reflect on the work of Nelson Mandela.
‘Clearing the garden took a few hours to complete. ‘It was challenging because it seemed impossible, but as a team we finished.’
The day included a lunch sponsored by Nandos KZN Varsity and Glenwood Spar.
All the student volunteers expressed the desire to go back and do more for the community. Said volunteer Mr Xolile Nene: ‘I would love to go back there. When we were there I noticed there were a lot of other things we could do to help.’
The women of the community were excited to begin gardening again and keen for the students to return.