Loeriesfontein, situated in the northern cape, is an open area, which is perfect for Wind Turbines. Wind energy is one of the cleanest and safest methods of generating electricity. 61 Turbines have been installed already by May 2019 and connected to the grid. They have a height of 152m and construction was completed in December 2017. This Wind Farm powers 120 000 homes and has many more benifits: Job creation, a positive impact on the Ecosystem, but also has improved the lives of the people who reside here. I will explain in vast detail with continued reading.
Whilst the wide spread introduction of an alien plant, the Prosopis tree, has wreaked chaos on our country’s native plants and broader ecosystem, it however provides benefits such as animal fodder, shade and is a source of business for two Loeriesfontein families who have set up small local enterprises that are able to provide local employment.
“Using this plant has opened up opportunities for enterprise development and local employment creation, while improving environmental management and sustainability, making it a perfect fit for our enterprise development programme,” explained said Vanessa Fredericks, Economic Development Manager for Khobab Wind Farm.
Two dynamic community entrepreneurs, with their families, are behind the commercialisation of the firewood. Khobab Firewood focusses on the logging of the species from farms in the area and selling stockpiles of dried wood to Mr Phila’s Firewood for packaging and distribution to major markets.
These entrepreneurs, who provide work for eighteen local people, have been supported by Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm’s enterprise development implementing agent, Senze Consulting. Support extends beyond just providing working capital, it includes business planning, equipment and business support to access markets and distribution channels, human resources management, financial management, procurement and general business administration. “We are pleased to be supporting these two businesses as they comprise of previously unemployed community members including both youth and women,” added Fredericks.
The Community is also being llooked after and protected, through various projects including; The Isibindi Safe Park opened its doors to the community of Loeriesfontein, late 2018 and has already carved a place in the hearts of the wider community where it plays a crucial role. This month the spotlight is turned to throw light on National Child Protection Week.
The Safe Park was built to provide a safe and caring environment for children and youth who are especially at risk and vulnerable, within the community of Loeriesfontein. It provides access to the services of family-focused professional Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs), offering continuous support to children and families.
June is a particularly significant period, with additional interventions taking place, both in the lead up and during National Child Protection Week, which will be commemorated between 28 May and 4 June, themed “Let Us All Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward”. Despite South African laws that govern the treatment and protection of children, high levels of poverty, violence and inequality means that children are susceptible to exploitation, abuse and neglect. “This is why children need special protection, because they are among the most vulnerable members of society and through Isibindi, children and their families are supported by the CYCWs who provide specialised child and youth care services, not just at the Safe Park, but also in schools and at home too,” said Marita, Isibindi Project Manager.
Various stakeholders work together with Isibindi’s core team to increase awareness and impact around National Child Protection Week, including SANCA and the SAPS, who recently presented a discussion on crime and domestic violence, in addition to a number of child and youth focused activities. The Safe Park infrastructure houses an office, homework area and a kitchen, which serves lunch for the children. Outdoor activities are conducted in the secure enclosed park and co-ordinated by the trained Child and Youth Care Workers who also provide care, support, and facilitate school homework. The centre takes care up to two hundred children a day and served an estimated 4 500 meals over the December and March school holiday period alone.
Whilst Isibindi is aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 18, the programme also reaches out to provide support to the whole family, when needed, through home visits. Furthermore, by working in close collaboration with the South African National Council on Alcoholism (SANCA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) the Safe Park is able to offer ongoing interventions and programmes that cover topics such as crime, domestic violence and substance abuse.
“The Safe Park is fundamental to the community, with children and caregivers turning to the resident Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs) at the Safe Park when in need of assistance,” concluded Vanessa Fredericks, Economic Development Manager for Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm, providers of the funding for the Safe Park’s construction, training CYCWs and continued support of this fundamental ongoing social intervention programme.
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