For a sustainable future
Trainings centre & School
It is quite common for South African women to be a single parent with many children but without a job. Aka'ani has therefore made it its mission to support the women of 'The Oaks' in building up their own agricultural business that will be self-sustaining. The goal is for them to be able to take care for their families by themselves. In order to teach the women agroecology and entrepreneurship, we need suitable school buildings. The women can participate in our Trainings-Center in different courses. Aka'ani was therefore given a piece of land, on which there where already three ruins like buildings. We were able to complete the first building in 2020 and are ready to set it up for our first class. The other two buildings will be hopefully restored soon to expand our program. Therefore we need schooling equipment like chairs, tables, a black board and also technical equipment, especially an overhead projector.
The available resources in South Africa are severely limited. So we had to come up with a project idea that was not only profitable, but also required as little resources as possible. This brought us to the idea to grow rose geranium for the production of organic essential oils. Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is an indigenous plant which only needs little water for its cultivation and grows in our local soil. Essential oils can be distilled from the leaves of the plants and is widely used in the cosmetic industry. It is also used as a medicinal plant and can treat various health conditions such as skin diseases, bacterial infections and mental issues.
To find a suitable piece of land, we had to walk a long way. But finally the chief of the community provided us with 1 hectare communal land, right next to a river, with fertile soil for our plants. During winter, we fenced the farm to keep domestic animals out. The next steps were ridging, discing and putting irrigation into the field. With spring, the team started planting 4500 seedlings. Eight month later, we accept our first harvest and we will be able to do cuttings for our nursery, which still needs to be build.
Aka'ani is mentored by Anti Manderson, the owner of the company 'Like Mountains', a producer and distiller of certified organic essential oils.
The aim of the Aka'ani program is to sell the harvest regularly to 'Like Mountains', who will process and sell it accordingly. Through the cultivation and sale of geranium plants as a supplier, long-term jobs will be created. The local women get the opportunity to buy seedlings from the Aka'ani nursery. As learned in the Aka'Ani workshop, they are able to start their own production in their home gardens and sell appropriate units back to us, which gives the families a good side-income.
To implement this cycle, we still need donors to be able to set up the nursery, where small seedlings from the mother plants can be produced.
By establishing several vegetable gardens in the village during lockdown, our aim was to motivate the women and their families to grow their own food and to learn how to establish and maintain their gardens for themselves. As bonus, they were able to sell for an income. Aka'ani helped to find customers near Hoedspruit like our organic deli 'The Farmery'.
Aka'ani supported the veggie-home-gardens with tools, water tanks and seedlings. The families have grown lettuce, onion, chili, green pepper, tomato, beetroot and spinach very successfully.
Meet our team
Anna Mauwane is our Aka'ani garden coordinator. She is 44 years old and lives at 'The Oaks'. Anna is a single mom of three boys. Before coming to Aka'ani, she worked as a teacher, but lost her job due to Covid-19.
This is Asnath Lewele. She is 40 years old and lives at 'The Oaks'. She is a single mom of two kids. Asnath has worked in agriculture as well as in a game lodge before joining the Aka'ani team.
Engelina Mametje is 52 years old and lives also at 'The Oaks'. She is married and mother of four children. Having worked in agriculture all her life, Engelina is a great help to our Aka'ani team.