2016 Jan: Motherhood: divided by continents, united by a culture of caring

EcoProducts Foundation: Culture of caring

As part of their vision of creating a culture of caring, the EcoProducts Foundation has been supporting the Zwigodini Pre-school Creche run by Blessing over a number of years, providing class room materials, educational toys and early childhood development training. The crèche has been hiring their classrooms and late last year, they were informed by owner of the property that they would have to vacate his plot as he was moving back into the village.  They had to leave by December 2015 which meant that when the holidays were over, Blessing would have nowhere to go; there wouldn’t be anywhere to receive, feed and teach the 50 young children aged between 0 – 5 she has been taking care of while their mothers are working.

A Creche In Crisis

The creche has been going for 9 years with strong support from the community.  The first kids who started at the creche are now in Grade 8 and they have very fond memories of their time at the creche.   Blessing and the rest of her community have been in a crisis not knowing what to do.  The headman of the village came to their rescue and assigned a plot of land in the village to them, but the new land is vacant except for a large shady baobab tree.  Every household donated R20 to building of the classrooms, but this was still not enough to get them going.

Blessing & Sarah on the vacant plot
Blessing & Sarah on the vacant plot

Enter BioOrganic Baby

BioOrganic Baby is a new UK-based company about to launch a baby care product range containing baobab.  Catherine Hardy and other members of the BioOrganic Baby family were lucky enough to journey to the Limpopo, home of the baobab tree, so they could personally visit the wild harvest site of one of their favourite ingredients and spend three extraordinary days filming in the African bush with EcoProducts founder Dr Sarah Venter.

Baobab for Babies: the beginning of a culture of caring

The BioOrganic Baby team were excited to meet the baobab trees. Growing wild in protected fields, the fruit of these giant trees is only harvested when their ripe pods fall to earth. ‘You certainly don’t get more organic than that!’  says Catherine enthusiastically, going on to describe the baobab pods as ‘almost armor plated to protect their precious contents. These pods provide the amazingly nutritious fruit powder that’s one of our skin loving ingredients. And what’s more, through Sarah’s ingenuity, these ancient trees are providing a dependable source of income for village women and their families!’

Catherine also found that ‘spending time with the women who harvest the baobab fruit was remarkable. These gentle, funny and compassionate women are also mothers and like all mothers, they want to provide the best they can for their children. Even though we share no common language, history or relation, we are all intrinsically linked by motherhood.’

And Then A Miracle Happens

When BioOrganic Baby heard of the plight of the Zigodini Creche, they were able to make a donation to the crèche, which EcoProducts matched.  Catherine goes on to say, ‘playing with these bright and gregarious children highlighted how important it was for us to help. I was so deeply moved by the Venda. A gentle, kind, welcoming people and Sarah herself, who is a visionary in sustainable production and ethical delivery.’

And so in late November 2015, Blessing and Sarah visited the local hardware shop and brickyard and within hours all the building materials had been delivered and the community started building .

Miraculously, the crèche went from facing closure to commencing building work in less than 48 hours. ‘Now that’s something that would never happen in the UK! Hello planning permission…?’ smiles Catherine.  ‘We love working with Sarah and EcoProducts – thank you! And here’s to future education collaborations!’

Sarah is thrilled.  ‘This is what creating a true culture of caring is all about,’ she says.

The headman, his councillor, civic leader, and the Community Creche Chairwoman and the Principal all formally thanked Ecoproducts Foundation and BioOrganic Baby for their generous donation (see photo below)

EcoProducts: Culture of Caring
From Left to right Sarah, Richard Mammbeda (Civic leader), Headman Zakaria Muthuhadini, Mr Mathoho (Councilor), Constance Kwerana (Chairperson of the Community Creche), Blessing Mammbeda (Principal)
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