Turquoise Harmony Institute

In partnership with UKZN, Ethekwini Municipality and Star College in Durban, THI has coordinated a project to award underprivileged students living in Kenneth Gardens with scholarships to pursue their studies at Star College.

Kenneth Gardens forms part of an extensive network of cluster housing schemes developed by the apartheid government. Kenneth Gardens was established, then, as part of government’s protectionist strategy to provide safe and affordable housing to poor and working class whites. There are a number of ‘corporation’ housing projects in Durban, but Kenneth Gardens is the largest one and is situated in an established lower middle class area in Durban. Umbilo is well located, close to the city and a range of amenities. There is a great demand for the flats in Kenneth Gardens.

There are an estimated 286 units in Kenneth Gardens spread over approximately 30 blocks. Well over 1500 people are accommodated in this fairly high density housing estate. There are a handful of white residents who live in Kenneth Gardens and have been in the corporate housing system for two or more generations. They have been and continue to be utterly dependent on the state. Black ‘newcomers’ are currently the largest constituency within Kenneth Gardens. This has dramatically changed the landscape of these once-protected white zones. What brings people together in this space is shared socio-economic circumstances.

Access to housing in Kenneth Gardens has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Once only open to white individuals and families who were listed for corporation housing, Kenneth Gardens is now open to all ‘race’ groupings and entry into the estate should technically occur through a referral process from social workers. People with a variety of disabilities (physical and mental) are officially the beneficiaries of this resource. How access to Kenneth Gardens occurs in practice is a point of contention amongst residents, political actors and other interest groupings. Once one accesses the corporation housing system, it is extremely difficult for government bodies to forcefully remove tenants, even those who are rent defaulters. The consequence of this is that while Kenneth Gardens is well located and the actual units are well built, the upkeep and regulation of these estates are very poor, feeding into a range of social problems.

The partners of this social development project are UKZN, Ethekwini Municipality and Turquoise Harmony Institute. According to project Turquoise Harmony Institute has arranged scholarship test for Star College to children from Kenneth Gardens and 16 students from Kenneth Gardens Area passed the test and awarded with full scholarship for Star College which is one of the best school in South Africa. Today (12/13/2011) Turquoise Harmony Institute with Shool of Social Development from UKZN arranged a press conference in Glenmore Primary School in Kenneth Gardens Area and gave the certificates and some gifts to these 16 succesfull students.

Atilla Dag Director of Turquoise Harmony Institute in KZN explained why Turquoise Harmony Institute supports these kinds of projects. He said:

According to Turkish Scolar Fethullah Gulen humanity has three important problems which are (1)ignorance, (2) poverty, (3) disunity. These enemies are also very prominent in South Africa. People who inspired by Fethullah Gulen, opened relief organizations in the world and they are taking actions in South Africa for fighting against poverty. They also opened dialog institutions (such as Turquoise Harmony Institute) for fighting against disunity and they also opened schools for fighting against ignorance and poverty and disunity. (Through the education it is possible to fight against these three enemies at the same time).

On this respect Turquoise Harmony Institute is supporting all kinds of educational, dialog and community development activities and projects. He also mentioned that “the value of each bursary is more than 30.000 Rands per year”.

Source: THI website.

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