SIBAHLE, MEANing "WE ARE BEAUTIFUL" in the zulu language, is A NON PROFIT FOOD PROJECT LOCATED IN SOWETO, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA.
Our goal is to create a sustainable network of people in a community, working together to feed and care for each other, using human ingenuity and readily available resources.
There are 31 primary care clinics in the Johannesburg Metro area. Each clinic provides entry into the health care system for public health patients. Many of them are unemployed or too ill to work. The ARVs and Tuberculosis treatment many of them take cannot be taken without food. For a population who cannot afford a meal or who must wait for hours for treatment without access to food, this makes compliance a challenge and an obstacle...they simply don't take their medicine. This also leads to a social problem where resistant tuberculosis strains develop because people are not able to take their medication in a consistent way.
The goal of Sibahle is to empower such people to sustain themselves using available resources. Each clinic in the system has available resources in the form of access to unused land, water, and security. Our first pilot project is attached to the Tladi Clinic where we are striving to create an entirely community driven veggie garden. The garden supplies fresh produce to our soup kitchen and thus both feeds hungry patients and gives them a sustaining project that they can have ownership of. In the long term producing and preparing enough food to feed critically ill patients will help support the efficacy of the medications they already take. We also aim to provide a platform where all people in the community can get trained in food growing and have access to immune boosting healthy food.
This project is not about a hand out. It is about empowerment, giving patients who have lost dignity and self esteem by being out of work and unable to provide for their families a chance to do something worthwhile every day. A reason to rally together with other members of their community to create something beautiful and beneficial. A means of putting food in hungry bellies and cultivating a sense of social responsibility between members of the community.