JCP-students assisted at Echo Youth Development

Posted on June 12, 2018

A team of four engineering students, Waldo Gerber, Bart-Jan Hulsman, Hannah Johnson and JJ Krause ventured all the way to Frankfort in the Free State to contribute to the Echo Youth Development farm Project. ECHO Youth Development is a registered non-profit founded in 2001 to provide a support system for vulnerable youth in South-Africa. High School Youth and Young Adults from different cultures live together in 13 houses, called Echo Communities. At the Echo farm they engaged with the community and contributed to the development of what one may call a Liquid Fertilizer Farm. The project aims to improve the farms self-sustainability and provide them with an additional source of income. The project entailed the transport of fourteen 210l oil drums to the farm from Pretoria and the construction of a supporting stand/base structure on which to place the drums in order to avoid rust and other damage. Having only limited resources they decided to make use of the locally growing “Blue Gum Tress”, which are an invasive species in South Africa but provide durable and reliable building materials, to build the supporting base structure. They cut down 2 Blue Gum Trees, sectioned them into 28 60cm stumps and levelled them as to provide a sturdy base. The project, although simple in principle, came with intense mental and physical challenges. The farm will be able to use the excrement from the various live stock to create their own signature fertiliser which when mixed with water and left to ferment will develop into a concentrate of nutrients which Echo can then use on their own vegetable gardens or sell as an additional income. The students indicated that they learned valuable skills, grew as a team, made new friends and took to heart the importance of supporting those who are in need.

- Author Waldo Gerber
Published by Martina Jordaan

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