The social impact program is benign for several reasons. It is the duty of those who are able to assist and uplift those who might need a helping hand as well as looking after our mother planet. Harmonie, being a resdence of Stellenbosch University that functions under its three core values of love, unity and respect has been able to impact others as well as the environmen with one single concept.
One of many things I appreciate about Harmonie is how we strive to make a difference even if it’s just in small ways. As soon as I saw the signup sheet I didn’t think twice about writing my name down and becoming a member of such a meaningful committee.
I hadn’t been acquainted with this wonder plant, known as the Spekboom, until the welcoming week of my first year at Stellenbosch University. It is essentially a unique specimen with fat juicy plastic-like leaves that is called a succulent . I was thrilled to hear about the environmental powers wielded by the plant; it effectively reduces carbon emissions and is almost indestructible when threatened by fire, frost or even a drought.\
These environmental heroes are not only a beautiful sight but also a tasty snack (yes, you can eat the leaves!), rich in nutrients that can be used to treat dehydration. The first years of Harmonie, including myself, had the privilege of planting a few of the trees around and in our gardens during the welcoming period, as well as selling them to people who wanted their very own little green superhero.
The purchase of these plants not only positively contributes to the environment, but also to the local Kayamandi community. The program partnered with the Kayamandi Primary School, which kindly allowed the university students to offer short yet highly produtcive, energetic and fun tutoring classes to the learners. The experience was unique! The children were warm, receptive and highly entusiastic, which was a pacifying sentiment for me, as it was my first time ever tutoring children. It was highly exciting to seem them engaged in the work, and learning through the process.
Children have an intrinsic magic to them and it is always special to be surrounded by a multitude of young creative minds that are hungry for knowledge and experience. And even though it is an extracurricular program, it doesn’t diminish its effectiveness and the joy that It gave me to be a part of such an initiative. It is like the butterfly effect of action; you never know how something small can impact someone, or affect them. My only hope is that in that hour spent with them, I managed to uphold the basic values of Harmonie, myself and my learned behaviours and aquired wisdom, and to serve them and connect with them as all humans should do with one another.
By: Ornila Serage and Tariro