DISABLED farmers were encouraged and honoured at a Mandela Day ceremony at the Christelike Maatskaplike Raad (CMR) office in Reeston on Monday.
The all-year-round Master Farming Project, coordinated by CMR and funded by Wesbank, assists those interested in starting their own vegetable gardens in the poorer areas of Reeston, Mzamomhle and Ducats with the skills and resources needed to start up and sustain themselves.
CMR project coordinator and social auxiliary worker, Christina Mdledle said: “We currently assist 1100 active farmers, 63 of which are people with disabilities. We aim to see 1200 active farmers by the end of the year.
“Today is all about building up the broken walls. With our hands we can do more for the physically impaired. They can also do what we do. Today we are giving them seedlings and celebrating them for 67 minutes.”
CMR office manager Magdalena van Solms said: “We aim to address issues of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity through our project. We assist anyone who is interested in producing their own food and anyone with a love and interest in cooking. We hope to bring food into households and food producers can sell to the community for profit”.
GO! & Express visited the garden of Queeny Dyantyi, 59, in Chicken Farm with a team from CMR.
He was born with polio and his legs have not developed enough to allow him to stand up.
Dyantyi said: “In 2005, I realised that it is too expensive to buy veggies so I decided to start my own garden. I met CMR and they offered me seeds and manure. “I grow cabbage, spinach, beetroot, turnips, potatoes, peas, beans and carrots. Fencing has become a big problem for me because the garden gets destroyed by stray animals. I can’t build a fence on my own.”
CMR field worker Kulukazi Mapempeni said: “Queeny crawls to the garden and assists in his neighbours’ gardens. He is an example of a person that does more than many able-bodied people.”