At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).
Many communities we work with – in both our Natural Resource Management and our Early Childhood Development programmes – had little or no income; and therefore no opportunity to buy food for themselves and their families.
So we had to act, by taking on new projects to support these communities during these crisis times. Our relief efforts revolved around food parcels for those most in need. We turned to YOU for help. And we were overwhelmed by your response.
The result? While many South Africans remained at home, our Flower Valley team could obtain essential work permits to:
- Deliver 682 food parcels in Eluxolweni and Baardskeerdersbos (by end July), to 97 families who participate in our Early Childhood Development Programme;
- And deliver additional food parcels to families involved in our Natural Resource Management Programme across the Overberg (as supported by the Lunchbox Fund).
(During the forced lockdown period we facilitated payments to alien clearing teams in our Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) Alien Clearing Project – facilitated by Flower Valley – on the authority of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.)
It was our privilege to be part of facilitating this relief and we are honoured to convey the gratitude from the recipients, thanking YOU for your generosity.
For example, a contractor who has his own harvesting team had this to say:
“Ek sê vir u baie baie dankie vir die kos pakkies. Ons waardeer dit baie. Die Here seen u.”
(I thank you very much for the food parcels. We appreciate it very much. May the Lord bless you.)
Another harvester said:
“Ons wil graag dankie sê vir die pakkies wat ons ontvang het.”
(We would just like to thank you for the food parcels we received.)
We couldn’t have asked for a better 21-year birthday present: Your support to help us help those we work with. Thank you!
Right now, we are adapting to this new normal. While the immediate future remains uncertain, as Flower Valley Conservation Trust, we MUST continue to respond with even more vigour to challenges in pursuit of our vision: “A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods.”
Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, many of our communities working in the Natural Resource Management and those participating in our Early Childhood Development programmes had to endure their own struggles in everyday life. The fynbos industry has seen little growth for wild harvesters. Communities had already experienced the threat of rising unemployment. And things have certainly deteriorated as a result of the pandemic. This highlights that more needs to be done to support sustainable green economies that ensure social, environmental and economic benefits to communities.
That’s why our core focus in a COVID-19 world is to add value and strengthen credible green industries and provide support for our communities in early childhood development.
Thank you for standing with us during this time. We look forward to continuing to work with you, as we move forward in this role.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust
For the Trust, it has been 21 years of growth, progress and learning.