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Working With Nature To Combat Poverty and Unemployment

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Thembisile Ralarala is proof that when you are in harmony with nature, the possibilities are endless. She is not a typical small business owner; she is a community activist that is generating multiple streams of income by working with nature.




Through her green business called Innovators Create Wealth, she planted a Botanical and vegetable garden and opened a nursery in Mount Fletcher, Eastern Cape.


“I started my business in 2017 because I wanted to empower people with knowledge about the wonders of nature” says Thembisile. All her income-generating green initiatives are directly linked to helping her rural community that is struggling with poverty, inequality, unemployment, drug abuse and crime.


One of her many exciting green projects is planting the NJR Botanical Garden, a free and family-friendly place where everyone is welcome to unwind and relax in. This beautiful garden has lush green grass, a huge variety of plants, big trees with shade and plenty of picnic spots.


“I planted it because I noticed that only urban areas have botanical gardens, and I wanted to introduce this concept to my community,” says Thembisile. With COVID-19 restrictions forcing everyone to social distance, the NJR Botanical Garden is the perfect place to visit because it’s very spacious.

The Botanical Garden is next to her nursery where locals can buy seedlings and flowers. Planting your own food can save money and decrease poverty. “I always encourage people to start a vegetable garden so they can feed their families” says Thembisile. The nursery also sells plants so everyone can have a beautiful garden to relax in and fruit trees to bear delicious fruits.


“I grew up poor and I know what it feels like to be hungry. I want to end poverty and bring a positive change to my community,” says Thembisile. Her vegetable garden is an important part of her empowering green business. She works closely with street vendors to sell produce from her garden. This leads to job creation and improves the local economy. Fresh and affordable vegetables are easily available to locals without having to travel long distances.


People in rural areas are often neglected and forgotten and Thembisile has made it her personal mission to improve their lives with her green business. The vision is to build a unique rural Botanical Garden to attract tourists which will help to promote inclusive sustainable rural development. She also hopes that community members will hire out the botanical garden for weddings and festivals. Through her nursery she hopes to encourage people to use nature to their advantage and plant their own gardens.


Even when seasons change and her botanical garden and vegetable farm are not looking good, she continues to work hard because she knows her green business is making a positive difference. Thembisile’s business, Innovators Create Wealth is proof that having a successful green business that empowers people in rural areas is possible if you live and work in harmony with nature.


You can contact Thembisile via email thembisileralarala@yahoo.com


Author: Fundiswa Nkwanyana

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