SANZAF Food Gardens Waqf
Climate change patterns and the global financial crisis of the last decade have negatively impacted global food security. A report by STATS SA suggests that that as many as 7.4 million people in South Africa experience hunger regularly.
Adverse weather conditions, coupled with high levels of unemployment leave many ordinary South Africans struggling to meet their basic needs. Inadequate food and poor nutrition in turn leads to stunted development, illness and the inability to work.
One way to combat food insecurity is to support local and subsistence farmers. SANZAF currently supports two community-based food gardens in the Gauteng region. Community food gardens, we believe can play an important role in fighting hunger and creating opportunities for employment in South Africa.
This year SANZAF is embarking on a new project in partnership with the Kwa Thema Community Centre. Having run their community food garden for several years, the community realised that there was often a shortage of affordable, high quality seedlings in the area. SANZAF is in the process of establishing a community seedling house that will serve to create opportunities for employment as well as provide access to high-quality seedlings to be used in the Kwa Thema Community Food Garden as well as sold to other local farmers. In addition, improved access to seedlings and other agricultural inputs will serve to enhance the resilience of local farmers and increase the availability of locally adapted crops. Apart from setting up the seedling house, SANZAF will facilitate the training of community members to manage and care for the seedlings.
The Kwa Thema Seedling House forms part of a larger project, the Kwa Thema Multi-purpose Community Centre that endeavours to provide educational, recreational, vocational and spiritual services to the community. The facility currently houses a recreational space for children, community hall, food garden, and mosque.
The SANZAF Seedling Waqf was established in year as a sustainable resource-base to support Agriculture projects in the Gauteng region. The waqf forms a perpetual endowment, whose earnings are designated for agriculture in South Africa. The waqf system is traced back to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) who advised Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to pledge a portion of land that he had acquired as a waqf. The land would remain intact, and could not be sold, while its fruits would be given as sadaqah (voluntary charity).
Donations to the SANZAF Seedling Waqf are invested into the Waqf Fund, and its returns are disbursed, on an annual basis, to agriculture projects. Apart from forming a sustainable resource-base for community development, donations are a means of sadaqah jaariyah (perpetual charity) for the donor.