BBL PARTICIPANT: Paullet Mokgwadi, Gamoloi, Sekhukhune, Limpopo
In a Nutshell
Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Paullet Mokgwadi from GaMoloi in Sekhukhune, Limpopo has discovered how to set her 8 grandchildren up for success in life, through good nutrition, improved performance at school and work ethic learned from helping their grandmother in agricultural production.
Shagasheng Cooperative started farming in about 2016 and I joined the following year. We sell into the community, schools, creches, hawkers and also to local shops. Working with other people in a cooperative requires patience because when there are lots of people, you need to take time to listen to everyone, but we are like a family now. We look after each other. I love working here because for me it was a way out of struggling.
We were trained by SocioTech in 2020 and the training has made a big difference. Even though I had done agriculture at school, I can see that before SocioTech, I lacked the skills to succeed. Since the training yields are higher, and the quality of the vegetables is much improved. Our customers always tell us that the vegetables are wonderful. I found everything that I learnt very interesting, but for me the most important thing that I learnt was The Food Robot. Making sure that meals include some red, some green, some orange. That idea has not only changed my life, but the lives of my grandchildren too.
My 8 grandchildren live with me. People always ask me if it is tiring at my age to have so many young people in my house, but I love having them there. Every time I think of them, they make me smile. We have fun together. We jive. We play soccer. Yes, I play soccer! They give me great joy. I think that people get old and frail when they stop working, so my plan is to farm for as long as I can.
"Those who can farm never need to beg..."
My grandchildren like farming and they always come and help after school and during the school holidays. I think some of my grandchildren will move on to other jobs but that some will stay in farming when they grow up. Even if they don’t stay in farming, they will have the skills to help themselves if they are ever hungry and suffering. Those who can farm never need to beg.
When you have so many children to feed you need to be very efficient with time. I cook all the meals for all the scuff tins for the whole week on Sunday, because during the week things get too busy. I always make sure that the meals they get follow The Food Robot. The reason that I am so determined to follow The Food Robot is that I have seen its work for myself. Before the Robot, my grandchildren were failing at school. They couldn’t focus and they had no energy. Then we started eating our red, orange, green and the children changed. They had energy to listen in class. They had greater understanding of what the teacher was saying. They had confidence to ask when they were confused. They had positive attitudes, and they began to succeed. After a few months one of the teachers at the school called me in and said: “what have you done, these children are completely different!”
"I am so passionate about The Food Robot that I am like an evangelist. An evangelist for The Food Robot."
Maybe the goal is to grow strawberries, maybe the goal is to be a doctor.
I have seen too many children in this community turn to stealing and smoking nyaope. I don’t want that for my family.
They must learn discipline and have the strength not to be influenced by bad things.
I have even pasted The Food Robot diagrams that we were given at the SocioTech training into all of their books to make sure that they remember to eat all their colours. I have told them to show their friends the diagram too.
I am so passionate about The Food Robot that I am like an evangelist. An evangelist for The Food Robot.
In the case of my 10-year-old grandson, Leon, his marks are so much better that he is now dreaming of becoming a doctor. Who knows what will happen, but I do know he is a wonderful child who loves watermelon and morogo and carrots. When he comes to help me here in the garden after school, he is always smiling. Especially when I let him eat carrots straight from ground. I encourage all my grandchildren to come and work with me in the fields after school and during the holidays. I think that children shouldn’t sit around doing nothing. They need to learn about hard work and the results it can bring. They need to understand what it is to focus on a goal.