Aspiration, Innovation and Social Impact – Wasteland – Graced Land

We are currently running a crowd funding campaign to support the development of a craft centre in the community of Melkhoutfontein, South Africa. The project will reuse waste and recycling innovatively, to create crafts for the tourist market and items of functional use in the local communities. The craft centre is part of the Wasteland-Graced land job creation -and entrepreneurship programme.

Going truly local in Melkhoutfontein

The Dreamcatcher crew has been working for ten years on a multi-faceted project called Wasteland–Graced Land in the community of Melkhoutfontein, Hessequa region in the Western Cape. Our aim is to innovate and create sustainable work to strengthen the local economy; contribute towards the income sufficiency of the residents living on low income, high levels of unemployment; to promote enterprise; local manufacturing and new tourism visitor experiences.

The Wasteland – Graced land project, is the final phase adding value to an imaginative, tourism enterprise and environmental development programme, using materials which impact negatively on quality of life and a barrier to local development in the community. Local waste matters are innovatively turned it into resourceful materials to produce art, crafts and items of practical use. Besides stimulating creativity and enterprise, the project provides skills, knowledge transfer -and development of the local youth in the community and visitors in the environmental classroom which is part of the development.

Wasteland – Graced Land concretely turns the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals from aspiration into practical, impactful outcomes. It provides a local solution to a local problem (unemployment and lack of entrepreneurial access opportunities) and a sustainable circular economy. Significantly the model has high potential of duplication in other communities/countries with similar needs. Finally it adds to the production of local crafts by local people, proudly offering a ‘made in South Africa’ product, changing over from consumers to manufacturers and enterprises and stimulates the local economy.

Wasteland – Graced Land is blending tourism with helpfulness, introducing a new, meaningful tourist visitor destination, with the chance for visitors to engage and get involved with the locals to innovate and create together locally.

Highlights of Dreamcatcher’s evolving Wasteland-Graced Land project

  • Established the Dreamcatcher office in Melkhoutfontein, Hessequa South Africa, on an informal waste site, also home to the historic St. Augustine’s church, and cleaned up the surrounding area from a declared invader shrub specie Acacia Cyclops, while working with local community members most in need (women and youth specifically).
  • Developed the Cook-Up with Kamamma and Homestays with Kamamma, (registered, branded) tourism enterprises that position local women to be entrepreneurs, offering a service generating an income with their skills and talents, while also drawing tourists into the community. We have instilled the local community entrepreneurs with the belief and tangibly backed this up with sustainable outcomes based development projects, that “tourism and its benefits is everyone’s business in South Africa”.
  • Established the La Bloemen botanical garden to reintroduce indigenous plant -and wildlife species into the once-thriving area that had been decimated by household waste and invader plant specie, and restored historic St. Augustine’s church. Visitors join the locals to plant and restore the environment in most rewarding encounters.
  • Promoted awareness of the region’s culture and heritage through the ongoing PaintUp with Kamamma project that beautifies 350 neighborhood homes through artistic representations of the history and lifestyle of the Melkhoutfontein people. In this the community is joined by visitors from around the world who come to paint alongside them. The project is planned to be completed by Dec 2018.
  • Delivered waste management training and education to leaders in the community, and educated residents about waste’s impact on health and environment.
  • We have worked with international experts to establish process, using recycled waste to turning it into and an income-generating initiative that uses byproducts to develop and manufacture trendy, useful crafts for sale to visitors and locals.
  • Finally after 10 years!  We are ready to move into the project completion phase to build the purposed craft making factory. Extensive community engagement -and research has taken place over many years to reach this stage. This factory, which will include a visitor -and environmental training room, will employ and empower many of the area’s most economically deprived, particularly the women and youth.
  • Wasteland – Graced Land is creating an appealing, lasting solution to local unemployment through waste management; promotes ongoing resource and knowledge sharing between locals, visitors, universities and education facilities, and serves as a development model others can learn from in the future.

So, what now?

Social enterprise development through local engagement and support is possible if we deliberately join hands locally and globally. Let us lead the way to ‘real, lasting poverty relief and an engaging future, where we put an End to Aid without end through local enterprise development. We need your support. Join us today!