About two decades ago, I was a Project Lead for a school environmental educational programme, whereby the schools involved in the project, created their own vegetable gardens and embarked on various recycling projects. It was poverty stricken rural areas around the country that I had the privilege to visit. I motivated and inspired them to make use of the resources they had, to earn and maintain sustainable living. I didn’t know then it was called foodscaping, or if the term even existed then.

Some of these schools developed those vegetable gardens and used the produce for their lunch meals or sold it to the community to raise funds to improve their facilities. Others recycled old tyres, bottles and other material to beautify their surroundings by making art from it. Others went as far as building a school hall. There was a monetary incentive for the schools with the best projects, as part of the CSI contribution of the Corporate motor vehicle company I worked for at the time – which served as added inspiration for the various projects.

Protex and Ekukhanyeni Relief Project

When I heard about the Protex initiative, this brought about the memories above, which was very close to my heart and as I write about it, I have so many flashbacks and it made me look at the laminated newspaper articles I saved, of the various projects which was shared in the news then.

Protex has embarked on a wonderful initiative with Non-profit company Ekukhanyeni Relief Project (NPC), whereby they have built a food garden at Lesedi Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre in Lawley, South of Johannesburg.

This garden serves to provide the children at the centre with nutritious fruit and vegetables, as nutrition is one of the most important components during early childhood development, as it can help prevent cognitive, behavioural, physical, social and emotional developmental delays. Protex and Ekukhanyeni also aim to educate caregivers on the important role that hygiene and sanitation plays in maintaining good health and protecting against germs.

I’m not going to fabricate the fact that I don’t use Protex soap bars, I’m not that person who will pull the wool over your eyes just to fall in love with a brand. I decided to share this, even though I don’t use Protex soap bars, because I love the initiative and the motivation behind it. In doing this, I learned that there is a Protex liquid hand soap, I am not sure which shops around me stock it or if it’s even available in South Africa, but I am certainly going to look for it. If you know who stocks it, please do comment below.

Foodscaping

I’ve recently been looking at so many people, mainly in other countries, that have resorted to foodscaping. Whilst I know that there are many people who are passionate about gardening, it’s restricted to their own private gardens. Imagine what we could do as a community and as a country, if we did foodscaping in public areas or at places like schools and churches, etc. Imagine if we planted fruit trees on the roadside, not only would it look pretty, but it would also aid in feeding the homeless.

Early Childhood Development

There are so many benefits when it comes to foodscaping or if we prefer to simply call it growing a vegetable garden, to ECD – Early Childhood Development.

Kayden is a fussy eater and I can see through trial and error that when I involve him in meal preparation, he is more prone to eat what we make together. It’s the fun and involvement that encourages him to do so. The creativity in making a face, using veggies and fruit grabs his attention and he is motivated to make some of his own.

In doing this, he is exposed to colours, textures, shapes and a variety of foods. Healthy nutrition supports brain development and children’s ability to develop problem-solving, decision-making and language skills as well as short and long-term memory. Well-nourished children are likely to do better at school. Raising a genius starts with keeping them well fed!

But no matter how well fed a child may be, if proper hygiene isn’t practiced, one cannot avoid sicknesses. Bacteria spreads and is more dangerous than foul language. So whilst preventing your child from using bad words is great to keep things clean, cleanliness in terms of hygiene, when lacking, has detrimental effects!

Protex is empowering these children in teaching them the importance of washing their hands before and after meals and the consequences of poor hygiene.

We’ve done this at home with Kayden and he doesn’t like his hands to be dirty, without even requesting him to do so, he goes to the bathroom and washes (not rinses) his hands himself.

Every time I go to a toilet at a company with safety standards in place, I always wondered why there has to be a chart with pictures on how to properly wash your hands! For adults, should that not be common sense? Sadly not, so those charts with pictures are a good resource because there are just so many adults who don’t bother to wash their hands at all and I see this all the time, when ladies leave the bathroom – it annoys me so much!

Fortunately, through this initiative from Protex, kids from a young age are learning proper hygiene habits which we can only hope that they will foster through as adults. It’s not just about foodscaping or gardening if you prefer to call it that, but it’s about learning life skills in different phases and some of these include practicing good hygiene and if this is done more frequently and consistently by more people, we can certainly improve our health and this will inevitably having positive consequences on early childhood development.


GIVEAWAY

Look at the artwork of the children at Lesedi Centre, that Protex and Ekukhanyeni Relief Project have done with these building blocks – literally. They’re just so special. You can win a set! Actually, I have six sets to give away!

To stand a chance to win 1 of these 6 sets, all you have to do is comment on your with your opinion on anything I’ve mentioned in this post – from foodscaping, to not washing hands, to Early childhood development.

T’s and C’s
1. This competition is open to South African residents only
2. The competition ends at 8am on the 17th of January 2020
3. The prize is not transferable nor exchangeable for cash
4. Entries across the following platforms are all welcome, look out for the post on these platforms:
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


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