South Africa

2011 – Construction mission to KwaZulu-Natal

Between 19 and 23 April 2011, 16 Vebego employees helped to build 2 classrooms and a kitchen at the Mazongo school in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We have supported the Mziki project in this region in the past and we also gave our support to two schools in 2010. Classrooms are important for giving the children in this region access to a good education in a pleasant environment that is both inspiring and safe. The South African government is also making money available for the provision of meals, although often there is no kitchen. This means that in the rainy season classrooms are set up as kitchens. In short, a vicious circle arises that can only be broken by contributing to the construction of classrooms and kitchens for these schools. So, by getting actively involved and helping with the building work ourselves, this is what we'll do! Follow us via the blog on this site.

2007 – 2011 Mziki Agri Village – Building houses and creating vegetable gardens

The Vebego Foundation’s second project also took place in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Together with Habitat for Humanity, Vebego employees began working on this project alongside local builders in 2007. In the Mziki area there was a large group of people who were living in very primitive conditions. We therefore helped to build houses for them. The starting point for this project was to make the community self-sufficient and independent and to improve the living conditions for people by creating new housing and employment.

In order to make this self-sufficient community a reality, the plan was not only to build 385 houses, but also a training centre and a water supply. The aim was also for each house to have its own vegetable garden.

Together with Habitat for Humanity, we helped to build 140 houses here. Unfortunately, we stopped working on the project prematurely in 2008 as the intended results were not being achieved and agreements with local parties were not being kept. It was a difficult decision, but that’s all part of the learning process too.

After a period of reflection, we conducted further research – after all it is not in our nature to abandon projects that have not been delivered sustainably. This research revealed that the inhabitants had two basic needs: food and work. We discussed these needs with Thwasa, a local NGO that focuses on community building and the stimulation of agricultural development. A two-year project was consequently started in which 30 families were given training in growing food in their vegetable gardens. They then passed on this knowledge to other inhabitants. By making fences to enclose the vegetable gardens, an employment project was also started by the community. In April 2011, the Vebego Foundation concluded that, 3 years after we had stopped working on building the houses, a sustainable community had developed with a strong residents’ association, food and employment.

Perspective of a construction mission participant

Together with 15 Vebego colleagues, Peter van Montfort travelled to the Mziki Agri Village. He shares his experiences in an interview for the Rabobank Maas en Leudal members’ magazine.

Account by construction mission participants

The construction mission participants wrote a blog during their trip in which they gave an account of their adventure.