500 Backpacks (Stories)

boy_hands_frameWe’ve had the pleasure of working with some incredibly generous donors over the years.  Here are a few of the stories of how they got creative to make a difference in the lives of these children.  If you have an idea for an out-of-the-box way to help, please contact us!

500 Backpacks

In partnership with Hanover Hope, One Love held a drive to fill backpacks with school supplies for children in need in Jamaica. Through generous donations from friends and family in Atlanta and the amazing efforts of Tanya Moses to source everything at minimal costs, we collected enough supplies to fill 500 backpacks! Having exceeded our initial expectations, we were faced with the rather daunting task of getting everything to Jamaica. Shipping rates were high, so we had to get creative.  One friend of One Love used a buddy pass to fly to Montego Bay, taking some several boxes of supplies herself.

Everything finally arrived in Jamaica. One Love had a backpack stuffing party with Paule Kerr-Jerrett and other community leaders at Hammerstein Highland House.  A distribution plan was considered and we began to identify communities in need. Within these communities we gave extra backpacks to children to give to their neighbors in need. In addition, about a hundred backpacks made their way into the more rural areas where this sort of aid rarely reaches. It was a true global effort, spanning materials sourcing in Atlanta, creative transportation by friends and family, to packaging and distribution in Jamaica.

Ella’s Adventure

In the winter of 2012, with support and guidance from One Love’s Brenda Isaac, Ella started a clothing drive at the Neighborhood Charter School in Grant Park, Atlanta. After several weeks, they had collected enough clothing to take to Jamaica.  Ella flew to Montego Bay where she stayed with Brenda at the Hammerstein Highland House and personally delivered the clothes to children. You can see more from her journey here:

Mr. Martin’s Yearly Thanksgiving Trip

Every year Mr. Martin brings a group of guests from Texas to Hammerstein Highland House for the week of Thanksgiving. In addition to celebrating the holiday in a beautiful setting, the group spends a day of service in one of the schools in the community. During these visits they have met various needs, including painting the exterior of a school and furnishing a faculty lounge. On other occasions, they have planned and provided a Christmas party and purchased technology for a classroom.

kids1,100 Health Screenings for Children

Founded in 1992, InHouse Physicians is a global provider of innovative worksite healthcare solutions that assist corporations in reducing healthcare costs. IHP sent a team of two cardiologists and four nurses to Hammerstein Highland House in Jamaica. Using the house a base, they spent three days at the Anchovy school doing health screenings for the youth served there. Young boys in Jamaica are at high risk for a specific heart disorder that they screened for. The team then coordinated treatment options for the boys who tested positive with hospitals in Kingston. Over the course of three days, they performed physicals for 1100 children.


Cavalleria gets a brand new kitchen built by the Education Department

Encouraged by the success of the One Love organic vegetable garden at Cavalleria Primary, the Western Cape Education department gifted the school with a brand new, permanent kitchen structure from which over 600 meals are prepared each day.  In  March 2012, this building replaced a tiny shipping container which had served as the school kitchen for several years.  Fitted with plumbing and piped for gas stoves, this new space has made daily food preparation more efficient and has great potential to serve as a cooking and nutrition workshop venue for the school community in the future.

Old Kitchen (inside container)                         New Kitchen (permanent structure)

 One Love Garden wins 2nd place in National School Food Garden Competition

In November 2011, Cavalleria Primary were asked by the department of Education to enter a food garden competition run by the National School Nutrition Programme.  Competing against schools across the Western Cape Province, our garden was judged on various criteria including use of the harvest, student involvement, integration of the garden into the school curriculum and food production and soil fertility initiatives.  OLLF and Cavalleria were justifiably proud and delighted to be awarded 2nd place in this competition, winning R5,000 for ongoing development in the garden.

Awarding of prize money by official from Western Cape Department of Education


OLLF Music Program students win Highest Honours at annual School Eisteddfodds – twice!

In August 2012 and 2013, OLLF’s musical performance group – The Cavallerians – were awarded a gold medal and trophy after achieving Highest Honours in the annual school eisteddfod competition.  The important cultural event hosts music groups from schools throughout the Western Cape, each showcasing their art and competing for the top prize in various categories.  The Cavallerians’ win was a testament to months of hard work and dedication from the students, a teacher’s devotion and OLLF’s ongoing financial support for the program.  This group has given every participating student the opportunity to play a musical instrument for the first time, and they are now regularly asked to play at conferences and functions around Cape Town.

Robin Youngblood visits The Cavallerians

In May 2013, Robin Youngblood, founder and Reverend at Church of the Earth, visited the OLLF music group.  Robin is involved in a project called World Peace Child and she asked to record the group singing and performing the main song chorus for this project.  Our piece will then be integrated with recordings of other groups of children around the world, to make up a global performance of the song.  During her visit, Robin taught the students a beautiful Native American Indian song called Wendeyaho, which they performed in three parts.  It was a beautiful time of sharing and collaboration between cultures, as Robin spoke of how closely related her Native American ancestry is to Africa and her people.  ONE LOVE!

Cavalleria Primary – 2013 Regional Winner in the Nestle Community Nutrition Awards

On 28 October 2013, Cavalleria Primary was announced as the regional winner in the 20th Nestle Community Nutrition Awards

Nestle introduced the schools category several years ago “to further encourage school going children to take part in the broader national food security and poverty alleviation drive”

The award of R15,000 in prize money and vouchers was used by the school to purchase a much needed fridge-freezer for the kitchen, as well as additional items such as cups, bowls, spoons, aprons, tablecloths etc. that will go a long way towards making the school feeding scheme more efficient.

We are so grateful to the team at Cavalleria who take such wonderful, loving care of the garden 365 days a year, as well as the team at Urban Harvest Edible Gardens whose continued support is an invaluable part of our efforts!

With our garden having recently doubled in size thanks to a generous donor in the US, we are expecting to generate around 3.5 tons of fresh produce per year, which will be a very welcome addition to the school feeding scheme.

Onwards and upwards!

Brenda and Calbert visit South Africa!

Thanks to the kindness of a generous donor, our first official teacher exchange took place in October 2013.

Callbert Brooks, the drumming teacher who heads up the music program in Montego Bay, Jamaica, was able to travel to South Africa with Brenda.  They spent two wonderful weeks with the children from Cavalleria Primary and the One Love community in Cape Town, and it was a trip that touched the hearts and minds of everyone they met.

Across countries, cultures and languages, the essence of ONE LOVE rang loud and clear.

Here are some of the highlights:

Exciting collaboration with Georgia State University

OLLF South Africa has recently had the privilege of getting to know Amanda Fleming, a graduate student and dietetic intern from Georgia State University. Amanda spent 7 days in May with the staff and students at Cavalleria Primary, as part of a voluntary study abroad program.

During her time at the school, Amanda covered a huge amount of ground with regards to food hygiene, healthy food preparation, nutrition, food preservation and meal planning, generously sharing her knowledge with the school community.

Amongst other accomplishments, she conducted a valuable survey about the school meals, she developed creative meal plans which have opened up exciting new ways to incorporate the fresh produce from our 800m2 vegetable garden into the daily feeding scheme, and she lead Grade 6 and 7 classes through a fun nutrition presentation which elicited much laughter and great interest from all the students.

As Amanda’s program drew to a close last week, the impact she had made was evident as the kitchen team were begging her to stay on just a little longer! This was an extremely valuable collaboration for our SA project and we are grateful to both Amanda and GSU for working with OLLF to make this time such a success.