A University of the Western Cape researcher has turned a dumping site into a stunning community garden in Fisantekraal.
Since March, Dr. Rissa Niyobuhungiro, a social work researcher, and volunteers from the community have worked on the garden which has become a landmark in the area.
“It’s one of those projects which I didn’t choose; it chose me,” she says.
“Such projects taught me to engage with people of different cultures and I realised that everybody on this earth is able to do something good, but in some cases, the circumstances and opportunities and knowledge may be a challenge.
“Since then I regularly ask myself: if I had to be that person, how would I feel? What would I do to overcome that challenge?”
The researcher says the first seed was planted in Lord’s Walk on 16 March and since then it has blossomed to the community garden that stands there today.
“Those involved water the garden, remove weeds and the garden itself attracts more and more people. There is a positive change in behaviour since the launch of the garden.
“Most participants have started gardens at their homes. This means they keep their kitchen waste for the garden and don’t opt to dump it on an illegal dumpsite.
“This, although small, is already a sure and positive behaviour change towards waste management.”
Rissa added that the main aim of the garden is to promote sustainable living in an area that has been heavily affected by poverty.
“The interest this project has invoked in the broader community of Durbanville gives me hope and it sends a message out there to other communities and their leaders that it is possible to change – and that change is contagious.”