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Oricol Environmental Services: Extending a helping hand to Emmangweni Primary School

Living and working with purpose, committed to preserving our environment” is the premise on which Oricol Environmental Services operates. The name 'ORICOL' originates from the combination of two words, to communicate an all-encompassing understanding of their business and core offerings. 'ORI' refers to the 'origins' of the earth and 'COL' alludes to 'collaboration'. With this encompassing mission statement, it was only a matter of time before Oricol approached greening organisation, Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) to form a partnership and address the direct needs of communities.

FTFA has been working in South Africa for the past 23 years, creating sustainable food gardens, and organic farms, that promote food security and nutrition.
South Africa, like many countries in Africa and the rest of the developing world, faces serious problems related to food security and nutrition. That all of us need to eat sufficient nutrients to live a healthy and productive life is clear, but food security is about more than just this. It is also about access to food. South Africa's high unemployment rate means that around 14 million people are vulnerable to food security as a result of poverty. Limited funds and access to sufficient food make this population high risk and lacking critical nutrients.

The Emmangweni Primary School, situated in Tembisa, was selected as the recipient of a food garden and implementation spanned the period between January to May 2016. This is a public primary school with 1590 registered learners, including 148 Grade R learners who are now receiving nutritious, organic and healthy vegetables to supplement the schools feeding scheme. 'These kids are amazing and for them the garden is an escape from their harsh reality. They enjoy harvesting and eating the food’, said project co-ordinator, Germinah Mabela.

Established in 1957, Tembisa is the second largest township in Gauteng, situated to the north of Kempton Park on the East Rand. Due to apartheid settlement policies, greening was low on the list of priorities, and with the current drought affecting food security and leading to soaring food prices, a food garden is now addressing the direct needs of the school. The poorest communities are hit the hardest by food insecurity and for many learners, the feeding scheme offers them the only meal of the day.

Environmental challenges are embraced by the solution-driven Oricol and so not only have they have been assisting Emmangweni Primary School to address food insecurity, but the garden is used as an outdoor classroom, where learners are taught permaculture methods and so cascade the teachings towards the community and in their own homes.

Oricol has successfully composted over 18 500 tonnes of green and organic waste per year for our clients. “This holistic approach ensures that the stance Oricol have taken within our own organisation extends far beyond lip service into measureable, tangible benefits for not only the beneficiary, but the community at large “said Dirk de Wet, Oricol’s Regional Manager, Gauteng.

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