CART (Centre for Appropriate Rural Technology) is a life skills centre we are developing in a rural village of Port St Johns, one of the poorest localities in South Africa. We are attempting to address issues of resource depletion, energy poverty, high prevalence of HIV and poor nutrition, using a participatory approach.
The land is owned by a Xhosa family who are working alongside us. Our primary goal is the creation of a replicable model for self sustainability using the natural and social resources of the community and its surroundings. This will then serve as an example to the surrounding village of over four hundred families. We hope it will then extended to other communities within the region and beyond.
Our food garden designs provide innovative ways to grow crops (permaculture) not previously seen in this area; and allows for balanced diets in an area where nutrition is greatly lacking. These designs are being duplicated by a local woman's federation who volunteer in the gardens, learn the skills and then apply them in their own homes themselves.
Since beginning our work here we have built 5 rondavals (traditional huts) using bricks we have made ourselves. We have flushing toilet systems in place (a first for the village) that converts the waste into usable energy using a bio-digester. We have extensive permaculture gardens that feed those who are working and volunteering at the centre. We also have a hot jet shower that uses paraffin or used cooking oil to fuel it.
Our current work is the building of kitchen facilities, the ongoing building of our learning centre and just recently the design and building of a healing centre in conjunction with living positive.