Almost three-quarters of Diepsloot residents live below the poverty line, while over half of adults are unemployed, according to Kliptown and Diepsloot study done by Planact.
Afrika Tikkun, a non-governmental organisation, started a feeding scheme in the informal settlement and it now feeds over 1000 children from 2pm every day.
Makwena Ramoroka, a social worker at Afrika Tikkun, says that even though children get a meal at school through the government feeding scheme, it is usually their only food of the day.
“After that meal, one still needs to have supper. And if there is no supper, they will find other ways to survive. Our concern was that they may use unconventional ways that may lead them to be in trouble with the law, so we saw a need to assist,” he said.
The children are also taught how grow food, according to Peter Strehler, the maintenance manager at Afrika Tikkun.
“We developed a vegetable planting chart, which teaches them when to plant and when is the harvesting time. And it shows what is good to plant in Gauteng,” said Strehler.
“The garden plays a pivotal role in producing fresh vegetables for the centre. Our children eat healthy food from this garden, and the parents working on this gardens are allowed to take vegetables home after children have bee fed at the kitchen.”
Ramaroka says that the food menu is carefully worked out by dieticians working with the primary health care centre. The after school snack includes Seasonal fruit, Morevite, Brown bread, and Rooibos Tea. While the supper menu consists of stewed spinach,tomato onion gravy, mince, pap or rice, inkomaas or bean casserole and pilchards stew.
“Since my child started eating here, he doesn’t go to bed hungry because he gets his supper at Afrika Tikkun after school,” said parent Gladys Chauke.
Chauke added that parents were given space in the vegetable garden to plant: “The garden is helpful, we plant our vegetables, harvest and take them home to cook for our children.”
In addition to keeping the children healthy, the centre does not allow vendors within or near their premises.