Child Sponsorship stories: School Food Gardens in South Africa

Lucy McDonnell's picture
Lucy McDonnell Education Project Officer
school, food, gardening, child sponsorship
Pupils tending to plants in their school's food garden
Photo: Victorine Djitrinou/ActionAid

Among many rural communities in South Africa, agricultural development is facing a growing problem. Food production is dominated by the older generation, with few young people seeing agriculture as an attractive industry to join.

To try and tackle this problem, ActionAid and its partners have designed and implemented a series of food gardens within schools. The gardens help to develop children’s interest in agriculture at an early stage, and are used in practical environmental and science classes. Classes also help to demonstrate the importance of local food production.

In addition they provide vegetables for school feeding schemes; generate income for the school; and provide vegetables to local orphans and the elderly.

This project has seen an increased interest in farming by the children and has also seen a reduction in malnutrition among children, orphans and the elderly.

This is just one example of the way in which child sponsorship funds help to support our work.

>> To find out more, and to see how your school can help, visit our schools child sponsorship pages

Video: toys and games played in India

Vaila McClure's picture
Vaila McClure Web Analyst

Guest blogger Liz Newbon, with some help from Mathan and Usha, shows us how to use a piston, a toy popular with the children of Vidyodaya School, India.

Mathan and Usha playing with a piston

>> If you enjoyed watching the video, download our 'Chembakolli Toys and Games' PowerPoint to find out more

Children playing kho kho, India
Children playing kho kho, India
Photo: Liz Newbon/ACCORD/AMS/ActionAid

Years 3 and 4 at Park School for Girls have a go at budgeting for a weekly shop in Tamil Nadu, southern India.

The pupils used the imaginary Chembakolli currency and role-play activity found in the Chembakolli artefacts booklet to do a weekly shop in a small town called Bospara.

Their first task was to chose the best type of transport to take them from Chembakolli to Bospara, bearing in mind that the road was very bumpy and they would have to carry their shopping back. The cycle and auto rickshaws and the bicycle were popular choices.

Some girls took the role of shopkeepers with goods such as sugar, rice, tomatoes, aubergines and potatoes to sell. The customers had 35 kolli to spend and needed to ask the cost of each item and make sure they paid the right money and received the correct change. All the girls had a turn in each role and recorded their shopping list.

Learning how to budget in Chembakolli

The room was busy with the sound of choices of being made and calculations being made. They helped each other to work out what they could afford and found in many cases that they had to choose very carefully with their limited budget. 

Many resisted the temptation to buy just sugar and chocolate and instead made sure they had rice and vegetables for their family as well as tea to drink with just a small pack of biscuits as a treat. 

Overall, a very successful activity that pupils really enjoyed taking part in!

Thank you for Living Like Lesotho!

Vaila McClure's picture
Vaila McClure Web Analyst

A huge thank you to all the schools who celebrated this year's World Food Day by taking part in our fundraising challenge to Live Like Lesotho. 

World Food Day KS2 fundraising teaching resources
Linjenj, 8, at her grandmother's house, Lesotho
Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson/ActionAid

Whether you grew your own garden, took part in a water relay race or gave up your favourite food, all money raised will go towards helping communities like eight-year-old Linjenj's to grow food sustainably.

It's not too late to take part:

>> download our free teaching and fundraising resources

New teaching and fundraising resource: Meet seven-year-old Makhetha

Lucy McDonnell's picture
Lucy McDonnell Education Project Officer

It's World Food Day! And to mark the occasion we're introducing you to Makhetha, who lives with her grandmother and four of her cousins in Lesotho.

Malisemolo Mosola, 60, with her granddaughter Molupo Makhetha, 7.
Molupo Makhetha, aged 7, with her grandmother Malisemolo Mosola
Photo: Robin Hammond/Panos/ActionAid

Makhetha says:

“We are five children all living with our grandmother. We love her very much but we worry about her as she works so hard. When she returns from the fields, she is very tired.

I feel hungry on Saturday and Sunday as my grandmother cannot afford to give us lunch.”

The difficulties Makhetha’s family faces are typical of many families in Lesotho, who struggle to grow enough food in an ever-changing climate.

Our ‘Water Race’ activity will help your pupils to understand the difficulties of growing food, and the impact that drought and flooding have on communities’ access to water.

Plus they'll have a lot of fun racing round the playground trying not to spill a drop of water!

This activity is ideal for KS1/ KS2 Geography, KS2 Citizenship/PSHE, KS1/ KS2 Maths.

Download your Water Race activity from our Lesotho resource hub

New teaching and fundraising resources: Ramotili's Story

Lucy McDonnell's picture
Lucy McDonnell Education Project Officer

With World Food Day coming up on 16 October, now is the perfect time to explore the challenges of growing food around the world with your class. 

Ramotili Raamkoini
Ramatoli lives in Lesotho. This World Food Day, learn how his family are adapting to crop failure.
Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson/ActionAid

Use our new set of teaching and fundraising materials to introduce your pupils to 12-year-old Ramotili from Lesotho and his family, who are struggling to grow enough food to eat.

In Lesotho, the majority of families rely on farming to make money and produce their own food, but crops have failed for three years in a row. ActionAid is supporting local people to adapt their farming techniques to cope with extreme and unpredictable weather conditions.

This includes training families to use different kinds of gardening techniques like pot holing, trench gardens and keyhole gardens which protect crops from the elements.