Impact 2014: Kids bloom under her miracle trees of life

It was through her philanthropic work that Ms Mavis Mathabatha, 53, discovered the remarkable Moringa tree.

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Now, she is intent on promoting the Moringa oleifera - or "miracle tree" - as one of the best herbal and all-natural nutritional supplements, especially for children.

In 2005, the former teacher founded Sedikong sa Lerato, a feeding centre for vulnerable children and poor households.

Even as she fed the children, she worried about their health. Fortuitously, she discovered the Moringa tree in 2006.

"Two months after I started adding fresh Moringa leaves to the food, children who were malnourished started to blossom," she said.

"At the time, all I knew was that Moringa boosted the immune system but, over the years, I have learnt all its secrets and had my products lab-tested by academic researchers, who cleared it for human consumption and confirmed its amazing nutritional value."

She aims to become an international Moringa exporter by 2016.

She still packages the dried and powdered leaves and tea bags manually, but hopes to have a large-scale factory in the future.

She has given 7,000 Moringa trees to families in the area.

"My aim is to see a Moringa tree at every home in South Africa. I also go to other communities to share the best ways to use it."

POLOKO TAU/CITY PRESS (SOUTH AFRICA)