An Islamic Relief project to help poor communities in South Africa has contributed to promoting unity and sustainable development.

An event held in Ennerdale, a suburb of Johannesburg, saw Islamic Relief staff and volunteers distributing blankets to vulnerable elderly people and improving a community garden. The initiative was timed to mark the first ever Nelson Mandela International Day.

Islamic Relief delivered 40 blankets to elderly people who could not leave their homes in informal settlements to the south of the city. The distribution was part of our Winter Warmth initiative, which saw around 5,000 blankets provided to vulnerable people countrywide.

Green-fingered efforts doubled the number of seed beds at the community garden at Osizweni Community Centre and ECD (OCC), and also saw the soil turned and new crops planted.

Empowering communities through homestead gardening

Islamic Relief delivered 40 blankets to elderly people living in informal settlements.

Islamic Relief delivered 40 blankets to elderly people living in informal settlements.

The garden is part of Islamic Relief’s integrated sustainable development programme, which includes the maintenance of 20 homestead gardens in the community.

Maintained by community centre staff and local people, most of the garden produce is used to feed around 200 poor people – and the remainder is sold to generate an income. Work is underway to make the gardens entirely self-sufficient.

Around 200 people participated in the event, which took place in July. Participants included the local community and charitable organisations, as well as officials from the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture – which are supporting our work in the community.

A local community leader delivered a speech underlining the value of community work and community cohesion, with Islamic Relief emphasising Mandela’s pursuit of unity within communities and a government representative also speaking briefly at the event.

Islamic Relief’s South Africa office opened in 2003. It raises funds to support projects worldwide as well as delivering a range of programmes to benefit vulnerable people in the country.