Blind pupils start scented product range

The 30th anniversary celebrations of Khanyisa School for the Blind will be a sweet-scented affair after they recently completed their aromatic vegetable garden, which they hope will feed pupils and generate profit for the school. Pupils at the Kwadwesi-based school are planning to launch a range of aroma sachets and other scented products using fragrant herbs grown in their vegetable garden. The products are also intended to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the school, which will take place at the school today in the form of a parade and special assembly. The product range, named Khanyisa Scents, will be available from the school from next month. While the project was initiated by deputy principal Alec Stoffels in 2016, it is only through recently partnering with Shoprite that it has become a reality. Stoffels said his plans got off to a slow start when it became clear that the garden’s design made it too difficult for the school’s blind and partially-sighted pupils to play their full part in making the project a success.

“I’ve always been passionate about gardening, even as a child. It flows through my bloodstream. “Initially my aim was to grow enough food in this garden to supplement the produce our kitchen uses for school meals,” Stoffels said. “Now my dream is to leave the school a legacy by immersing our pupils in the garden and equipping them with the skills to produce their own crops such as beetroot, spinach, pumpkins, carrots, lettuce, parsley and maize.” Shoprite agreed to help transform the under-used land into a productive, fragrant vegetable and herb garden. The retailer’s support included new tools, plants, elevating the vegetable beds and educational materials, as well as training. The pupils are in the process of learning permaculture techniques for cultivating vegetables alongside fragrant herbs and plants such as lavender, geranium and rosemary. “But the thing that really fires their enthusiasm is harvesting the produce they cultivate through their own hard work. “The vegetables we grow in the garden will be used to give them a balanced, nutritious diet. Any income we earn from our planned range of aroma sachets and scented products will be used to do more for the pupils in the future,” Stoffels said.