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

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


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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

As part of the “One House One Garden” program, the gardeners of Roosboom set up a new garden on the outskirts of the center. Cardboards were used in addition to carbonaceous organic materials.

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

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

One House, One Garden

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, to … 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

Butts 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

Nutrition poster

This poster was the first document produced by Designing Hope addressing the subject of nutrition.