Paying salaries, one garden at a time

When there is a need, you do everything you can to alleviate the problem.

20 January 2019 | Society

The Ecumenical Social Services (EcSOS) organisation is currently busy with another project that will see a number of gardens pop up in the capital.

The Oondoongi Organic Garden Project's goal is not only to be self-sustainable but to focus on affording the salaries of social workers. “At the moment we can subsidise the salary of one social worker; our aim is to employ ten full-time social workers,” says EcSOS's project and fundraising manager Elario Muller.

To kickstart their garden, the team is currently in need of 1 000 plant pots in various sizes.

According to Elario, it's important to be sustainable because it helps bring stability to the work as well as job security for the social workers – something that is currently lacking.

“We depend on donations and on private individuals to keep us afloat. Unfortunately the current economy has really brought to light the many challenges non-profits face,” he said.

Except for the pots for the garden, they will be grateful for any other donations.

“We are in dire need of donations to pay social workers on a consistent monthly basis,” he said.

The first garden will be situated at Huis Maerua and the produce will be sold. “The funds generated are to pay the social workers we hire,” Elario added.

They hope to expand their project to other towns throughout Namibia.

“The need for social workers is always growing and there is a systemic shortage of these roles. We simply wish to be able to be effective and self-sustainable so that we can meet the needs of those communities in need of faith-based social workers,” he said.

Training is an important activity within the project.

Here the target group will be homeless people staying at the Thinus Bakkes Shelter, as well as unemployed Namibians and refugees.

A next phase is to support trained people in setting up small home gardens or rural farm gardens of which the produce can be sold in the same market chain.

“Throughout we will be having a profit-sharing with beneficiaries of the project,” he said.

EcSOS has a long history of support towards formal social work services carried out by civil society.

To get involved, to deliver pots or to make a financial contribution, contact Elario at [email protected]

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