Garden of Hope and Healing

eThekwini Municipality’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture (PRC),

Diakonia Council of Churches, supported by various like-minded NGOs, present the

Garden of Hope and Healing

Project: 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, 2012

25 November – 10 December

The Garden of Hope and Healing is an innovative, participative project for the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, 2012.

Thousands of hand-made plastic flowers (made from recycled discarded waste plastic) will be “planted” in Durban Botanic Gardens to  honour victims of violence and to pledge support for a society free of violence against women and children.

It is an innovative collaboration between eThekwini Municipality’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture (PRC) working with Diakonia Council of Churches’ Thursdays in Black Campaign, Sydenham Resource Centre, Durban Botanic Gardens, PRC Men’s Forum and various like-minded NGOs.

Discarded plastic bottles will be transformed into colourful, creative, handmade flowers with messages of hope and healing, and a commitment – to be “planted” in Durban Botanic Gardens for the duration of the 16 day campaign. Each flower will honour a victim or a survivor of abuse, or be a visual pledge of working towards a world without rape and violence.

The flowers will all be made from waste plastic – sending out a strong recycling message that discarded waste can be transformed into something of beauty and value.

A series of workshops will be hosted by Sydenham Resource Centre ahead of the campaign. There are two imminent public workshops: A morning Flower Making Workshop will be held for public, NGOs and civic organisations from the Highway and Valley area keen to participate in the project. It will be held in the Valley Trust Canteen on Tuesday 13 November at 9am. A second one will be held at Diakonia Council of Churches: Tuesday 20 November, 2 – 4pm.

Entry to the workshops at Valley Trust and Diakonia is free and all are welcome! Please bring along many clean 2 litre plastic cool drink bottles – both clear (2l coke bottles) and green (sprite / cream soda / apple) with their lids.

There will also be daily flower-making workshops at Durban Botanic Gardens for the duration of the 16 days’ campaign.  Members of the public are welcome to participate in the flower-making workshops and contribute the flowers they make, to the garden. Workshops for large groups / corporates / NGOs can be run on request.

As part of the project, there will be an exhibition and resource material offering information and support to those affected by violence against women and children, and there will be a programme of discussions, workshops and events to generate an increase level of awareness amongst South Africans relating to gender violence, how it manifests itself within South African society,  the negative impact on these  vulnerable groups and to  challenge perpetrators of these offences to change their behaviour.

The garden will also feature “a Bottle Tree” with hundreds of messages sealed in tiny glass bottles, from the PRC Men’s Forum, and there will be a symbolic “Washing Line” with black garments – paying tribute to Thursdays in Black, a programme run by Diakonia Council of Churches to encourage men and women to wear black every Thursday to raise awareness around issues of gender justice, violence against women and corrective rape.

For more information about the campaign, contact Illa Thompson on illa@pubmat.co.za / 031 2011 638.