Silethithemba garden is located in Roosboom, one of the most disadvantaged suburbs of Ladysmith District, in Kwazulu Natal – South Africa. The garden is attached to a Half Way House, a day care center for unprivileged children, supported by Designing Hope since 2007.

Roosboom, South Africa

In South Africa, permaculture was introduced several years ago as a solution of development, especially for townships, with the notion of “Door Gardens.” These gardens, which are the size of a door (2m x 1m), are adapted to townships’ suburban housing, which often has a small fenced plot of a few square meters.

The idea is to create on that small surface a fertile land, using household waste mixed with plants available nearby (leaves, branches, grass …) and to associate crops for maximum performance on a small surface to provide a dietary supplement with fresh vegetables for families throughout the year.

Since 2011, permaculture raised beds have been implemented in a pedagogical garden in this center involving 50 orphan and disadvantaged children.

Since 2016, a new program “One House One Garden” has been helping disadvantaged families to start a vegetable garden. Each month, a family is identified, and the two gardeners of the center help this household to set up a fence, and the first growing raised beds. Regular follow-up is then organised if needed.

A project financed by The Ivory Foundation & the AA Ulmann Fund

  • Discover below the last posts from Roosboom !

Outdoor activities at Halfway House in Roosboom, South Africa

The Halfway House is a place for children to relax and enjoy themselves after school every day. They can enjoy outdoor games as well as board games inside the house, in addition to the daily meals they are served.These happy … Read More

Garden maintenance with the children of the HalfWay House

The children from the Halfway House work on the vegetable garden with the centre’s gardener and two carers, Lulu and Fisani.

Preparing seedlings with the children of Halfway House in Roosboom – South Africa

The children play an active role in maintaining the garden that provides the vegetables for their daily meals. Today, they planted seedlings that will soon enrich the vegetable garden.

Seedlings with children at Roosboom

The children at Halfway House in Roosboom are taking good care of their seedlings, taking turns watering them every day. There’s still a few days to wait before they can be planted in the vegetable garden…

Maintenance of the greenhouse at Half Way House in Roosboom.

The greenhouse is an important part of the garden at HalfWay House in Roosboom.  It allows nurseries to be set up sheltered from direct sunlight, and protects certain crops from invasions of locusts and grasshoppers.  The children also help the gardener … Read More

Children of Roosboom take care of the flower shape Mandala garden

The children at Halfway House and the centre’s gardener take great care of the flower-shaped Mandala vegetable garden.Before winter, tagetes, cabbage and spinach remain on the petals.

The Silethithemba team dressed by the Garden of Skills sewing workshop.

Fisani and Lulu were able to try on their work jacket and trousers made by the team at the Garden of Skills sewing workshop in Eswatini. The made-to-measure workwear bears the logo of the local association that runs the Halfway House in Roosboom. A … Read More

Preparing the beds at Roosboom

The beds in the garden at Halfway House in Roosboom have been redesigned by the gardener in charge of the kitchen garden. They are now ready for spring planting, and to benefit from the arrival of the first rains after … Read More

Game about the vegetables at Roosboom

Children enthusiastically play the games developed by Dessine l’Espoir around vegetables from the kitchen garden. These fun and educational activities enable youngsters to discover the world of vegetables in an interactive and entertaining way. Thanks to these games, they learn … Read More

Outdoor play at Roosboom

The children at Roosboom enjoy playing outside on the large lawn at Half Way House after lunch, while others water the garden with the centre’s gardener.

Vegetable life memory game at Rooseboom

The youngsters at the Half Way House in Rooseboom were able to try out the new game launched by the association, which completes the transgardens catalogue for educational games in all the gardens run by Dessine l’Espoir and The Ivory … Read More

Barbecue at the Half Way House

Every day, the Half Way House in Roosboom welcomes between 45 and 60 underprivileged children from the Roosboom township. To mark the presentation of the games donated by the Apprentices of Auteuil, a barbecue was organised to complement the daily … Read More

Preparation of new growing beds at the Half Way House in Roosboom

A new gardener has just joined the team at the Half Way House in Roosboom, which is run by Designing Hope. Together with the two women who manage the centre, they are preparing new growing beds for the plants prepared … Read More

Garden maintenance at Ladysmith

Every day, the children look after the vegetable garden at Roosboom, helping the women in particular with watering and tending the beds. The cabbages and spinach are harvested to accompany the meals served daily at Half Way House.

Planting with children in Roosboom

The greenhouse at the Half Way House in Roosboom, expanded with the help of the young farmers from St. Monica’s Farm in Lesotho, can now accommodate more plants, protected from the sun’s rays and from the birds and grasshoppers, which … Read More

Eswatini baskets for the hens at Roosboom

As part of the exchanges between the various gardens in southern Africa, straw baskets made in Eswatini were given to the children of Half Way House in Roosboom to equip the henhouse. The hens quickly adopted the baskets as nesting … Read More

Lunch at the Halfway House

Like every day of the week, the children enjoyed a healthy and balanced meal at the HalfWay House. The meal consists of rice and a sauce prepared with vegetables from the garden. This nutritional support benefits about 50 underprivileged children … Read More

Extension of the greenhouse with the young people of Lesotho

In Southern Africa, Designing Hope and The Ivory Foundation strive to forge human links between the actors of the different projects they develop and support.  In 2017, the women of Eswatini and Roosboom came to train in permaculture the students … Read More

Fitting out the interior of the Roosboom greenhouse with the students from Lesotho’s deaf and hard of hearing school

After completing the structure of the greenhouse in the Roosboom garden, the team of gardeners from St Paul’s School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Leribe, Lesotho, took charge of the interior of the greenhouse, using a grid … Read More

Agrosemens, partner of Drawing Hope in South Africa

Each year, the organic seed company Agrosemens (La semence Bio) supports the association’s projects by providing reproducible seeds for the educational gardens. This valuable support will be accompanied by training in seed reproduction and conservation. Thus, the seed company and … Read More

Roosboom’s garden

While new plants are being prepared in the nursery, the Half Way House coordinators take care of the vegetables grown during the winter. These accompany the dishes on a daily basis served to the children at the Silethithemba centre.

Roosboom’s cabbages

The Roosboom Silethithemba reception centre Designing Hope’s local partner in South Africa, has harvested beautiful cabbage to feed the children of this underprivileged township. Good food in prospect!

Life continues in the garden at Roosboom, South Africa

Despite Covid-19 having slowed down the garden’s activity last year, the children and women of the garden enjoy the products of their crops. Thanks to the milpa technique, which consists in simultaneously growing corn, climbing beans and courgette on the … Read More

Maintenance of Roosboom garden

Zanele, Lulu and Fisani look after the Half Way House in Roosboom as if they were at home, children like those of a big family. The Roosboom Haf Way House is a little paradise in this underprivileged township of Roosboom.After … Read More

The Milpa culture of Roosboom

As part of the Roosboom garden’s educational programme, a plot of Milpa combining maize, climbing beans and courgettes has been set up. This technique of cultivation on different levels optimises the production of vegetables on a reduced surface area: the … Read More

Preparation of new cultivation beds

At the “Half Way House”  in Roosboom, a home opened by the association @designinghope for orphans in this disadvantaged township in South Africa, the garden is used to produce fresh vegetables for the meals served daily to the children. This … Read More

Children from Roosboom visit the garden

Every day, 40 orphans from the township of Roosboom are welcomed at the Half Way House of Designing Hope, a centre where different activities are offered to the children for 2 hours after school. T hey receive a hot meal, … Read More

Distribution of meals during lockdown

Roosbom’s “Half Way House” has adapted its functionning to the sanitary measures implemented in South Africa. A non-contact thermometer was purchased to check the children’s temperature before entering the center. The children can still benefit from a complete and healthy … Read More

Summer is coming at Roosboom’s gaden

In November, temperatures become warmer in South Africa. It is therefore an opportunity for the gardener and the women who are in charge of the garden to involve the children of the center in harvesting the last winter vegetables and … Read More

Meal preparation at the Half-way House

Today, on the menu, a vegetable and spinach sauce from the garden and an egg from the henhouse to accompany the rice! The youth could enjoy their lunch in the open space “Thebe Magugu”, the South African creator and sponsor … Read More

Maintenance of the garden with the children

A small change in the organization of the Half Way House in Roosboom, the women, who were previously employed part-time to prepare meals for the children, are now there full-time, and take care of the garden the rest of the … Read More

Maintenance of the garden by women in Roosboom

Following the departure of the gardener in July 2020, the three women who look after Roosboom’s children at half time, wished to take over his job and share the activity of maintaining the garden. They look after the garden 2 … Read More

Life in Roosboom during the lockdown

During the lockdown difficult times, the children were not able to go to the Half Way House. However, life is still active there! Masks were ordered to the sewing group for themselves and for the children of teh half Way … Read More

Roosboom’s garden in winter

In July it is winter in Roosboom. Temperatures can drop as low as 5 to 10 degrees at night, but remain comfortable (15 to 20 degrees) during the day thanks to the strong sunshine (winter is the dry season). Perfect … Read More

Roosboom team

3 women and one gardener run the Half Way House in Roosboom every day. In the morning, Lulu, Fisani and Zanele are also in charge of a home base care mission for HIV-positive patients living in Roosboom, entrusted by the … Read More

Thebe Magugu’s visit in Roosboom

The South African fashion designer Thebe Magugu, went to Roosboom to visit Desining Hope’s Half Way House in February 2020. He discovered the outdoor exhibition of his creations photographed by Aart Verrips on scarecrows, in the open fields. This exhibition … Read More

Distribution of meals at Roosboom

Each week, Dessine l’Espoir organizes the delivery of meals for Roosboom’s children with a wholesaler located in the neighboring town of Ladysmith. Roosboom only has a few small convenience stores, in fact unsuitable for buying wholesale groceries (rice, oil, canned … Read More

Roosboom greenhouse

A large covered greenhouse was installed in Roosboom to accommodate the seedlings of the vegetable garden. Unlike greenhouses that we are used to seeing in European gardens, what is most important in southern Africa is to protect from the sun … Read More

The scarecrow the Half Way house

On the occasion of the photography exhibition organized in Paris to the benefit of Designing Hope, featuring the creations of the South African stylist Thebe Magugu on scarecrows, we proposed to the children of Roosboom to be inspired by Thebe’s … Read More

Improvement of the Roosboom’s Mandala

Roosboom’s mandala has taken on curves! We have undertaken to redraw the petals, both for aesthetic purposes, but also to increase its cultivated area. A work carried out with the children of the Half Way House.

Dance around the mandala…

The Mandala becomes a place of creation for children from different countries involved in educational garden projects…  The children of the Half Way House in Roosboom, adopted their own, and prepared a choreography around the petals of the garden…  

Biodiversity library in Roosboom

50 books about biodiversity, gardening, environment, nutrition, biodiversity, were purchased by Designing Hope to enrich the Half Way House library with the financial support of the A&A Ulmann fund. Books for all ages, to discover while having fun for the … Read More

The establishment of the henhouse

In order to improve the nutrition of children, and with the support of the A&A Ulmann fund, a an abandoned local has been rehabilitated to accommodate a chicken coop with 40 laying hens. The room was covered, and secured with … Read More

Roosboom spices

Designing Hope added natural spices (Moringa powder, kurkuma, curry, etc.) to its monthly deliveries to replace the chemical condiments that are very popular in Africa. New recipes were adopted by the women who are preparing food at Roosboom Half Way … Read More

Harvesting Moringa

Moringa is both a fertilizing tree (which fertilizes the soil and the plantations that are made around its roots) and an important source of vitamin, thanks to its foliage. Moringa seeds are therefore harvested to plant new trees in the … Read More

Watering planks

Every day the children of Half Way House help gardeners water the garden.

Preparing the soil for sowing

A mixture of potting soil, topsoil and biochar was made with the children to do the sowing in the greenhouse.

Construction of a greenhouse for sowing

An elongated greenhouse was made with the gardeners at Roosboom’s Half Way House to prepare the seedlings. A green shade was preferred to a plastic cover, to avoid excessive heat and to protect young plants from the sun, that can … Read More

Save water in the garden

Designing Hope encourages the preservation of the water resource. The washing of vegetables and hands is done in a basin, and the recovered water is used to wash the vegetables. Half Way House Roosboom, Ladysmith

Mandala of Roosboom

The children of Roosboom took part to cultivating new vegetables on the mandala of the garden. Spinach and salads plants have been planted, replacing tomatoes that have been harvested.

One House One Garden at Rosboom

Each month, the gardeners of Silethithemba are responsible for setting up a vegetable garden in a disadvantaged household in the neighborhood, affected by HIV. The beneficiaries take part in the installation of the garden, if their state of health allows … Read More

Roosboom, the Half Way House

In Roosboom, Designing Hope offers 35 children a relaxing afternoon and a good meal, after school. Dance, games, sports, creative activities, maintenance of the educational garden that also produces vegetables to prepare meals.     These children, from modest background, … Read More

The suitcase for the Half Way House

La Traversine and the Half Way House, two Transgardens educational gardens: one in France, the other in South Africa. The first is an urban garden, developed on the roof of a Parisian kindergarten with the aim of introducing youth to … Read More

The children of Roosboom are preparing a package for the children of Bercy school

Like every afternoon, the children of Roosboom’s Half Way House come together for creative activities, sports, and garden maintenance before their meal is served. This afternoon, the children just receive a large envelopped with pictures and drawings made by the … Read More

Chickens and biochar

In Roosboom garden, the hen house is also a place for experimenting biochar. It is mixed with straw on the ground of the shelter. this combination has a double effect: -First, it cleans the henhouse, absorbs liquids, eliminates odors, and … Read More

The south african “suitcase”

The children of the center Siletithemba centre in Roosebom, received an envelope from the children of Bercy school in Paris. with a lot of curiosity and excitement, the young people opened the pack addressed to them and discovered letters and … Read More

Setting up the new garden – One House One Garden

In the context of the One House One Garden project, the occupants of the Half Way House helped during the construction of the new garden. Fencing, manpower and knowledge in permaculture, every month Designing Hope allows the establishment of a … Read More

Surroundings of Roosboom

Roosboom is located 10km from Ladysmith in Kwazulu Natal. The countryside is dotted with dwellings, and many children sometimes have to walk an hour or more to get to school. Many families have the opportunity to grow a plot of … Read More

The mandala of Roosboom

A “mandala” garden has been set up in the vegetable garden of Siletithemba center in Roosebom, (KwaZulu Natal), South Africa. Mandala is a Sanskrit word, an ancient Indian language, which means circle. It refers to any diagrams of various forms … Read More

One House One Garden – Establishment of a new garden in Roosboom, South Africa

As part of the “One House One Garden” program, Roosboom’s gardeners have set up a new garden on the outskirts of the center. Cardboard was used in addition to carbonaceous organic matter to compensate for the lack of branches and … Read More

A day in Roosboom

Small tour of the garden with the children of the halfway house in Roosboom. The children water the plots and harvest spinach that will complement the lunch that will be served to them.

Preparing meals at Roosboom

Daily, the women in charge of the Roosboom halfway house prepare meals for the children. Vegetables from the garden are used to cook the dishes.

Agroforestry – Ladysmih

On the occasion of the agroforestry training given by APAF in May 2017, a visit was organized to Ladysmith. The children of the Halfway House of Roosboom have set up a nursery and sowed the seeds of fertilizer trees given … Read More

Harvesting eggs at Roosboom’s chicken coop

Today, the children take care of the chicken coop. The chickens have started laying this week ! The manure and straw are used for incorporation into the compost and enrich the garden.

Distribution of the book of recipes

Created by Designing Hope with Joseph Fonseca, an international volunteer based in Roosboom for 2 years, this book brings together recipes inspired by simple traditional cooking using vegetables from the garden. Its aims at encouraging the consumption of fresh vegetables … Read More

Planting Chaya – Ladysmith

Chaya is a plant of Central America similar to spinach. Chaya is easy to grow in temperate climate. It is tolerant to heavy rain and drought. Propagation can be done easily by cutting 20cm of the stems and planting them … Read More

Evolution of Chaya Cuttings

In the space of 2 years, Chaya’s 20 cm cut has become a real bush (right in the photo), which provides leaves for cooking, and can be generously duplicated itself for other projects. This month, cuttings were sent to South … Read More

Sowing in Roosboom

Preparation of winter seedlings in plastic buckets. The seedlings will then be placed on the garden beds.

Artistic herbarium

As an activity this week in Roosboom the children made a herbarium by drying leaves of different plants and then decorated homemade frames (cardboard and transparent sheet) with paint.  

Maintenance of the garden

The children of the Half Way House take regularly care of the garden, watering the plants, and ensuring the maintenance of the beds, the management of the weeds etc … It is an opportunity for them to acquire the practical … Read More

Installation of a compost

After several months of throwing organic waste in the garden without organization, the children of the Half Way House decided to follow the advice of comics on permaculture and created a compost pile in the garden.  

Halloween at the Half Way House

Today at the Half Way House in Roosboom, it’s Halloween preparation … Today at the Half Way House children have carved pumpkins to make Halloween lanterns. 5 pumpkins were kept preciously for the occasion. Children first draw on the pumpkins … Read More

Creating a Memory game

This afternoon at Roosboom children have created a Memory game on the theme of garden vegetables. This activity allow children to develop their creativity while providing them source of entertainment, and improving their memory and their knowledge of vegetables. EnregistrerEnregistrer

Setting up a repellent for mole rats in Rooseboom

Many mole rats are causing damages in the garden of Roosboom, while digging their tunnels they tear the roots of the vegetable in the garden. To get rid of them, here is a simple technique using the means at hand. … Read More

Implementation of the “One House, One Garden” program in Roosboom

In Roosboom, near Ladysmith in Kwazulu Natal, Designing hope started with local NGO Silethithemba the project “One House, One Garden”. Every month, one family with poor background is identified and the NGO helps financing and setting up a fenced garden, … Read More

Comic book

Designing Hope’s comic about permaculture techniques is now used by Roosboom’s team to teach the children basics about permaculture and agroecology.   Related links : Comic book

Seed harvesting in Roosboom

The children harvested the seeds of chard ribs which they let grow seeds in the garden. These non-hybrid biological seeds can be reproduced.

Building a henhouse using recycled materials

Each month, canned tomatoes and red beans are used for children’s meals. The metal of the cans, laid flat, was used as wall for the chicken coop, studded on a wooden frame. the roof was made of wood, to isolate … Read More

Culture beds enriched with Biochar

At Roosboom Garden, the children started 2 new culture beds to compare the impact of biochar on crops. The first bed was cultivated with biochar imbibed with vermicompost, and the second one was incorporated dry in the culture plates. In … Read More

Traditional recipe book 

With an international volunteer (Peace Corps) in place for 2 years in Roosboom, Designing Hope has developed a recipe book inspired by traditional meals. Recipes are selected based on the vegetables they use, and the ability to produce them in … Read More

Moringa planting at Roosboom

The first moringa seedlings are beginning to sprout. Culture of Moringa is very interesting because it is a plant with many properties and important nutritional values. In fact moringa leaves are richer in vitamins, minerals and proteins than most vegetables. … Read More

A comic explaining basics of Permacuture.

Designing Hope has produced, with the support of The Ivory Foundation, an illustrated brochure presenting the techniques of permaculture. This document addresses several topics, the creation of raised beds, crops rotation, crops associations, with a focus on milpa, compost… This … Read More

Harvesting vegetables for the children meals

Children can enjoy every day a hot meal that uses some fresh vegetables they grow in the pilot garden.

A desired water pipe!

Roosboom has been depending for years on a large tank of communal water, randomly refilled. This has led often to shortage of water, challenging the garden, specially during dry season. Designing Hope invested in a piping system to bring water from … Read More

Preparing new raised beds

The children of Roosboom work together and create new raised beds.


Children from Roosboom showing their milpa plot, combining maize, squash and beans.

Building a henhouse using recycled materials

Canned red beans are used for the daily meals cooked to the children of Roosboom. The children were asked to retrieve the empty boxes, flatten them to form a recovery material to make the walls of a henhouse. Women then … Read More

Garden Maintenance, Roosboom – South Africa

During the few hours they spend daily at the Roosboom halfway House, the children work in groups in the garden and are in charge of its maintenance. During the winter season, crops are limited, and cabbage is the plant that … Read More