Kenneth Gardens in Umbilo, Durban, is the largest municipal housing estate in the city. It provides subsidized housing to approximately 1500-1800 individuals and over an estimated 286 units in 28 blocks.
Kenneth Gardens, almost since its inception, has been renowned as a place that is beleaguered with a wide range of social problems, such as alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, unemployment and limited access to education. In addition, a large portion of the residents have at least one member of their family with a serious physical or mental illness.
The Kenneth Gardens Community Engagement Project was initiated in 2011 by Prof Monique Marks and Dr Kira Erwin, and has become, an important service learning site for students from UKZN, the Durban University of Technology (DUT), and from other tertiary education institutions.
The inter-institutional partnership of UKZN/DUT is strengthened through a shared NRF Community Engagement grant, in which students from both institutions receive support for their studies while participating in research, supervised community development and service orientated learning.
The Kenneth Gardens community is central to the outreach work and there are several collaborations with NPOs run by local residents. The ongoing projects include a free homeopathic clinic in the estate, capoeira and dance classes at a local primary school and a digital archive.
The project also runs international collaborations on community engagement research projects. The Global Bridges Partnership with the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013 and another project in July 2014 involving students from the University of California Davis are two examples.
If you’d like to read more about the Kenneth Gardens Community Project, please refer to the 2013 Annual Report attached here:
For further information, please contact:
Urban Futures Centre
Durban University of Technology
Prof Monique Marks
Tel: 031 373 2180
Dr Kira Erwin
Tel: 031 373 2017
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