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October : PG Bison in partnership with local farmers feed Ugie's vulnerable citizens

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5 October, 2016

PG Bison in partnership with local farmers feed Ugie's vulnerable citizens

 PG Bison

Beneficiaries and volunteers congregated in Judea Hope's tent to receive food parcels as part of the PG Bison feeding scheme. Picture: Judea Hope

The most vulnerable citizens of Ugie in the rural outback of the Eastern Cape are set to benefit from a newly-launched feeding scheme - the latest addition to a range of interventions through which leading diversified timber company PG Bison provides support to its community.

The company announced a partnership with Judea Hope this week, through which it will start early childhood development (ECD) centres. These will be used as hubs to distribute food parcels but also to train community members as child carers.

This means that PG Bison now supports a broad range of sectors of society in Ugie - from small children, learners at school, students and local entrepreneurs, to the elderly - in a community where more than 70% of adult residents are unemployed.

Judea Hope has already distributed 20 000 meals to Ugie residents in the past two months alone.

The meals consist of rice, soy, a dehydrated soup mix, flavouring and 21 essential vitamins and minerals. The organisation distributed the meals through crèches and ECD centres in the Ugie area with which they have connected.

Building strong partnerships
"We realised that if we wanted the feeding scheme to be sustainable, we needed to partner with organisations with strong track records. We therefore set up a variety of meetings with Judea Hope, the Ugie Farmers' Association (UGA) and other service providers," says Pieter de Wet, General Manager of the PG Bison Plant in Ugie.

In addition to assisting with the meals, PG Bison will provide stoves, fridges, chairs and tables to the project.

"This feeding scheme would not be possible without the generous assistance of the local farmers who are supplying the veggies," says De Wet.

Farmers have also made a hall available for use as a food processing facility.

De Wet says the company is aiming to assist Ugie's most vulnerable citizens - children and the elderly.

"We are also pleased that Judea Hope will build strong relationships through local crèches and churches to distribute the food."

A package deal
Dr. Louis Blom, President of Judea Hope, says his organisation specialises in building community networks, and using these to provide food, training opportunities and other services. The organisation has an existing national footprint.

He says one of the additional benefits of a feeding scheme is often a reduction in crime.

"Many local volunteers were involved in the launch project and helped with our first food packing event. We pitched a tent from where we fed the children and provided all sorts of other activities and learning materials."

The organisation has already enrolled twenty teachers into an ECD course offered by the University of Pretoria. More than twenty community leaders and pastors have signed up for leadership training.

"In other communities where we have been working for the past 19 years, we have seen remarkable shifts. Children are school-ready because they have received sufficient nourishment and care. Teachers are better equipped to teach. There is a long-term knock-PG Bison

on effect. If children enter the schooling system at a higher level, it impacts their entire schooling career positively.

"In many communities the word transformation has become a reality for us," says Blom.

 Source: PG Bison

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