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Stories from the Field

In Case You Missed It: Catch Up on the South Africa Celebration Series

By Amanda Whitmyer on November 30, 2023

With a mission to alleviate hunger, real solutions do exist to pave the way toward brighter futures. In honor of Rise Against Hunger’s 25th anniversary, we continue to celebrate nourished lives and empowered communities around the globe by sharing our impact in South Africa. Rise Against Hunger Africa, one of our six international offices, works to address the critical issue of hunger in children through the Early Childhood Development Connect  (ECD Connect) Program.

The ECD Connect Program assists early childhood development centers in South Africa, also known as ECDs, to meet the Department of Basic Education standards and obtain proper registration. To accomplish these outcomes, Rise Against Hunger Africa works alongside local partners and school leaders to develop long-term solutions that generate cost savings through donated meals and food security through home-grown school gardens. Learn more from the program participants below and the impact results in South Africa. 

Impact Results (And Counting)

With a primary focus on ensuring children between the ages of 0 and 6 have access to quality education and nutritious meals, local school gardens supported through the ECD Connect Program provide fresh vegetables and fruits to early childhood development centers and the community. In the past year alone, this program has supported over 1,180 ECDs, served 38,100+ people and provided more than 2.9 million meals. These remarkable results have also created new jobs and skills development opportunities, improving the participants’ quality of life and supporting long-term food security. 

Program Participants

Orange Farm Lakeside, a local garden located at Langalibalele Dube Primary School in Johannesburg, South Africa, harvests vegetables and provides produce to local ECDs in the community. Students and parents also learn the fundamentals of starting their own gardens to improve access to nutrition, leading to food security and self-sufficiency. Learn more about Orange Farm Lakeside’s remarkable impact from three program participants, including Doris, Lakeside Garden Supervisor, Ayanda, Lakeside Principal, and Mpho, Lakeside Teacher and Gift Coordinator.

Rhelokemelenge Preschool & Nursery is a level 1 early childhood development center in Meyerton, South Africa. By providing Rise Against Hunger meals at school and using the cost savings to improve educational resources, this ECD has grown significantly, supporting the nutrition and education of 30 children. Find out more about this center from two program participants, including Maria, Director of the Rhelokemelenge Preschool & Nursery, and Joyce, a parent of an enrolled student, and the impact it has made in the local community. 

MorningStar is a level 4 early childhood development center in Johannesburg, South Africa. Through the distribution of Rise Against Hunger meals, children receive the nutrition they need to thrive while gaining access to a quality education. MorningStar’s infrastructure has also expanded into a thriving space with a kitchen, outdoor area, and multiple classrooms for 35 children. Watch this video to hear from two program participants, including Sanna, MorningStar Founder and Principal, and Irene, a parent of a MorningStar child. 

Place of Hope, a community garden in Johannesburg, South Africa, harvests vegetables, such as carrots, onions, spinach, kale and tomatoes, and donates them to local early childhood development centers. By gardening a wide range of vegetables, Place of Hope is improving food security, nourishing lives and cultivating community life and opportunities. Hear from two program participants, including Thompson, program supervisor and owner of the Place of Hope garden, and Brian Nell, Rise Against Hunger Africa CEO. 

Are you interested in joining the celebration in South Africa? We invite you to make a $25 gift in honor of Rise Against Hunger’s 25th anniversary. Your gift will help even more children on the path to food security, just like the children and their local communities in South Africa.