Our first Men at Work project started in McGregor in April 2015. The concept behind this project is to empower men both in their home lives and their work attitudes, helping them to find the best in themselves. The programme runs for a period of 18 months. The first 8 months is intensive work on self inner development while the second 10 months works more with economic and skills concepts like entrepreneurship, computer skills and financial concepts. After this period, a one year mentorship programme is also envisaged to support the men to set up their own businesses if they so decide.
They meet weekly with the facilitator, Solly Marlow from the Graham Beck Skills Centre, where they explore their relationships with their fathers ,their sons, their peers, the rest of the family in their lives, their employers and themselves. They also explore all and any subject that comes up for discussion in the group. No issue is taboo.
They also meet with Judy Eccles on a weekly basis to learn vegetable gardening. The gardening has two main goals; to ground the interpersonal work done with Solly, drawing parallels in relationships with others to caring for the earth, and to work with food security by helping each participant to have their own vegetable garden.
These pictures were taken at Godfrey's new home, where the owner has given permission for him to have a vegetable garden. Godfrey was keen to do a formal garden, so we marked out the four quadrants, laid sawdust paths and completed the first compost heap to use on the beds once ready. Godfrey will build a small pond in the centre to attract the "good" inhabitants such as frogs into the garden. We plan to plant the garden out in early spring.
The Men at Work programme is now being replicated at the Graham Beck Skills Centre where Judy takes care of the garden and at Ashton where a garden and trainer have been identified.
Judy Eccles and Pieter Holloway
11 September 2015