A group of young football players from the University of Florida has partnered with Rise Above Development’s (RAD) Youth Centre in Lavender Hill, South Africa. The goal of the collaboration is to create a self-sustaining vegetable garden that benefits the local children and fosters a sense of global unity and understanding.
Building Water Tanks to Cultivate the Garden
The 13 Florida Gators players, aged between 18 and 22, are working with Flow, a Michigan-based non-profit organization, to construct 1.8-meter water tanks. These tanks will play a crucial role in cultivating the garden. The Florida Gators regularly engage in community service and collaborate with American universities and Beyond Sports Tours, which hosts groups like the Gators for seven-day trips to South Africa.
Service Work to Instill a Greater Sense of World Community
Nawaal Weitz, the South African director of Beyond Sports Tours, explains that these trips aim to instil a greater sense of world community and to understand different cultures, ways of life, and ways to give back and serve. The shared experience of working together to create something of lasting value forges bonds of friendship and understanding that transcend cultural barriers.
Creating a Sustainable Future
The project has been well-received by the local community in Cape Town, with the Gators’ enthusiasm and dedication making a lasting impression. RAD CEO Lindsay Cessford envisions a future where the centre becomes completely sustainable, with additional water tanks and solar panels powering the buildings. The recently installed water well, a generous donation by the Department of Agriculture, brings this vision one step closer to reality. The ultimate goal is to establish learning gardens and grow vegetables for a café that will provide nutritious meals to the children of Lavender Hill.
Bridging Cultural Divides and Creating Lasting Change
The collaboration between the Florida Gators and RAD Youth Centre serves as an inspiring example of how community service can bridge cultural divides and create lasting change. The project emphasizes the importance of understanding, cooperation, and giving back in our increasingly interconnected world. By providing resources and opportunities for growth and development, the Gators and RAD Youth Centre are making a difference in the lives of Lavender Hill’s children and opening up new avenues for cross-cultural communication and understanding.