LOCAL YOUTH AT THE FOREFRONT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
A group of four young dynamic people from the small town of Cookhouse, in the Eastern Cape, are stepping up to make a difference in their communities. Through their newly formed non-profit organisation (NPO), the team aims to create a positive impact on both the environment and the lives of the youth by launching a food garden project and establishing a recycling plant at a local primary school.
Following a training programme, the NPO successfully established a recycling plant at William Oates Primary School in Nojoli, and is working to engage learners at the school, encouraging each of them to bring one plastic bottle to school per term. By involving the learners in these initiatives, they aim to instil a sense of responsibility and environmental consciousness from an early age.
“I found the training session to be very productive and enlightening. Prior to attending, my knowledge of recycling was limited, but as the training progressed, I gained a deeper understanding of its significance and the positive impact it can have on our communities. With this newfound knowledge, I am able to return to my community and educate others about recycling,” said Nolubablo Jeyi, who is one of the NPO founders.
Plans are also underway to launch and cultivate a food gardening project at the start of the next school term. This will benefit the surrounding communities by supplying vegetables to soup kitchen projects.
“The aim of knowledge-based training was to provide an in-depth understanding of recycling and food security practices through sustainable food gardening. This initiative not only tackles food security but also serves as an educational platform, teaching our local youth about recycling through creative arts and food gardening,” explained Lifa Baskiti, Community Liaison Officer for Cookhouse Wind Farm, which funded this training as part of its Youth Skills Development initiative.
The NPO consists of a team of three women and one man from within the local communities of Cookhouse, Nojoli, Adelaide and Bedford, namely: Nolubabalo Jeyi, who holds a National Accredited Technical Education Diploma certificate in Civil Engineering; Sinovuyo Gadu, who is studying Occupational Health and Safety; Luthando Mpevana, who brings his extensive two-year experience in the recycling industry as the organisation’s Plant Manager; and Aphelele Ngalo, who is known for her passion for community development.