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Stories from the Field

Place of Hope: How a Community Garden Is Growing Opportunities for Nutrition and Education

By Audrey Kleiner on November 9, 2023

In South Africa, the work to end hunger starts with a meal by ensuring children between ages 0 and 6 have access to nutritious food and a quality education through Rise Against Hunger Africa’s Early Childhood Development Connect (ECD Connect) program. The program focuses on improving food and nutrition security for children attending early childhood development centers (ECDs) and families in the surrounding community. 

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are sharing stories of real impact from the ECD Connect program in South Africa — real impact like what Place of Hope is doing to literally grow opportunities to nourish lives. Place of Hope is a community garden in Johannesburg. The garden harvests vegetables that are then donated to local early childhood development centers. Through the ECD Connect program, Rise Against Hunger Africa works alongside Place of Hope to provide nutrition for the children in the ECDs and support the surrounding community. By gardening a range of vegetables, such as carrots, onions, spinach, kale and tomatoes, Place of Hope is helping to reduce food insecurity, improve nutrition for children in ECDs, and cultivate community life and opportunities.  

Watch a video about how Place of Hope is supporting ECDs and growing opportunities in the community!

Thompson Ngobeni, program supervisor and owner of the Place of Hope garden

Thompson Ngobeni, Rise Against Hunger Africa program supervisor, shares how the garden produces many positive impacts in the community. Place of Hope donates to nine ECDs, providing many children with nutrition that nourishes their bodies and education. Because of the harvested vegetables, the children are guaranteed nutrition and the ECDs have more opportunities to flourish, grow and expand. “We donate spinach and chomolia for nine ECDs and tomatoes,” Ngobeni said. 

Ngobeni also shared how the garden extends to provide for the community as well. “And with the planting of veggies, Rise Against Hunger has made a big difference to the community because… instead of going far away to get veggies, they get their veggies here.” 

As Place of Hope continues to grow, Ngobeni hopes to make an even bigger impact in the community. Negobeni shared, “I wish we could serve more people, we could help more people.” 

Thompson, program supervisor and owner of the Place of Hope garden

Brian Nell, Rise Against Hunger Africa CEO

As the CEO of Rise Against Hunger Africa, Brian Nell shared that the main purpose of the ECD Connect program is to combine quality nutrition with quality education. Through this approach, the program can build and expand to hopefully serve more and help more. Our core focus is to link good nutrition with education in the early childhood development space,” Brian explained. “So, it’s really important for us to grow the movement within that early foundation phase of the child’s life. And then slowly link our early childhood development centers with our sustainable community farming projects.” 

Picture of Brian Nell, Rise Against Hunger Africa CEO, kneeling in Place of Hope community garden

Place of Hope’s donated vegetables are making a big impact in the community, and this garden showcases just one of the many ways Rise Against Hunger Africa’s ECD Connect program is supporting children’s education and nutrition in South Africa. Learn more about the work in South Africa here

In recognition of Rise Against Hunger’s 25th anniversary, please consider also making a $25 donation to help nourish the lives of children in South Africa and globally. It starts with a meal, and it starts with you!