A Women’s Day message from our fearless, female Managing Director
The Grootbos Foundation honours the women whose lives are a part of the Grootbos story and without whom, the Foundation would not be what it is today. On 9 August, our country honours those women who marched to the Union Buildings to demand the end of the Pass Laws in 1955 during Apartheid. This date symbolizes the potential and power of women in the political arena, but it also liberated our hearts and minds and identified the collective force of women in society. There are still inequalities within South African politics, businesses, institutions, communities and families but each day, a girl or a women somewhere, raises her expectations and realises her potential. Thank you to all the powerful women who believe in the Grootbos Foundation, and to all the men who join hands with us.
The Grootbos Foundation team is acutely aware of the pressure felt by the matric classes of 2020 at schools across the region. The Covid 19 Pandemic has dashed many hopes and dreams of 18 year olds across South Africa, and those from township schools face even more uncertainty as the local economy fights for survival, making school leavers’ chances of finding employment even more challenging. The Football Foundation coaches will visit all the matrics (girls and boys) at local high school, Gansbaai Academia, this Women’s Day to offer encouragement, to inform them of entrepreneurship training and seed funding opportunities in 2021, and to give them a small gift as they navigate the shaky pathway towards their matric examinations. Good luck, Matrics of 2020. We’ve got your backs!
Women’s Month offers us a special opportunity to celebrate women and their contribution to society. The Covid19 Pandemic has hit women the hardest through job losses. It is estimated that two out of every three jobs lost were filled by women due to the nature of the tourism and hospitality industry, the industry that was a cornerstone of the economy on the region served by Grootbos Foundation. The Covid19 Pandemic has brought an overnight shake-up to the economy and forced the world to rethink and redesign a routemap to recovery that will be both more resilient and sustainable for the planet.
The Whole Way Round, 12 September
Ian Privett of Globalcyclingtours.com along with Mark Lawson of CycletheCape.com in Cape Town have joined forces to undertake an epic unsupported circumnavigation of South Africa by bicycle in 40 days to raise much needed funds for Covid19 Relief Programmes provided by the Grootbos Foundation NPO. Covering nearly 8’000km, a distance of 2’000km more than crossing the continental U.S.A and the same as riding across Canada coast to coast, it will involve more climbing than going up Mount Everest 9 times! THEY NEED YOUR HELP!
They urgently need sponsorship to achieve their goal of raising R100’000 for the people of the Overberg area in the Western Cape who have been devastated by Covid19. As little as R5 can provide a meal, PPE, digital access to learning or essential support to micro-entrepreneurs to help families in the Overberg rebuild a more resilient future. R250 can feed a family of four for a week! EVERY Rand counts; EVERY rand makes a difference. Why not sponsor Ian and Mark for each kilometre of their epic adventure as they ride their bikes around the beautiful South African countryside, or sponsor your favourite leg of their journey. Join them, support them, follow them and be a part of their epic adventure as they hit the open road to bring together a love of cycling, South Africa and adventure to do good for the communities served by the Grootbos Foundation.
*Go time is booked for 12 September 2020! Follow the event on Facebook for updates as Ian and Mark plan an epic ride in truly epic times. Covid 19 Lockdown regulations may result in route changes.
Green Futures College
The Green Futures College has faced its own set of challenges adapting to Covid19 Lockdown regulations but our two classes of 2020 are thrilled to be able to complete their studies this year without further interruptions to the vocational training programme. Our Eco-tourism & Hospitality Programme funded by Rotary International offers a bouquet of accredited training certificates to 12 local women in Food and Beverage, First Aid, DHET English, and Introduction to Microsoft among others.
Our Indigenous Horticulture Programme offers a bouquet of certificates to 12 unemployed youths, preparing them for work opportunities in the outside environment including Landscaping, Fynbos Propagation, Alien Vegetation Management, Chainsaw and Brushcutter operations and more. Including Basic Business and Money skills training at Green Futures College is a priority so that all graduates of Green Futures College have the opportunity to use their skills to start their own businesses. Mentorship and building strong relationships between dedicated facilitators and students enables the Green Futures College to tailor-make the best teaching and learning for each student. This is one way how the Grootbos Foundation will participate in a green recovery from the Covid 19 Pandemic and its impact.
Green Futures Conservation
Our Conservation and Research Unit have been hard at work to ensure that that we maintain and conserve our amazing biodiversity. Through ongoing research, we have increased our Grootbos Plant list by 38 species over the last three months, which brings our total list to 638 plant species. We may even have discovered a new species! We have been privileged to share our work with the expert Grootbos Guides who have been made invaluable contributions to our work through their participation in reserve management, botanical and entomological research. Our Conservation and Research unit have conducted eight Bioblitz surveys on neighbouring properties which includes an overview of the different vegetation types, an overview of infestations of alien invasive plant species, surveys to compile floral, animal and insect species lists. Each landowner receives a report with management recommendations in areas identified by our team. These reports will form the basis of our Conservation Management Plan for the Walker Bay Protected Environment. This will allow us to create a statutorily recognised conservation area in terms of the Protected Areas Act (Act 57 of 2003). This will add an additional layer of protection to our conservation efforts of the last 20 years. We thank Fauna and Flora International for funding this initiative and their ongoing investment into the conservation efforts to secure the conservation of the Agulhas Plain. Covid 19 has drawn attention to the value of our natural areas and to their role in driving ‘green’ recovery. Due to the pandemic, travel and tourism came to an abrupt halt, putting global and local conservation efforts at risk. Tourism and conservation are intrinsically linked and provide the impetus for our rehabilitation and restoration efforts at Grootbos Foundation. The impact of job losses among our community is clear, which shows us the true value of eco-tourism as a tool for job creation and community upliftment. Grootbos Foundation continues to focus on driving recovery of the community through eco-tourism training.
Siyakhula Small Business Grants for Covid Relief
The Covid19 Pandemic and enforced government lockdown have left many members of society without an income or recourse for recovery. In recognition of this, our Careers, Employability and Enterprise programme has made micro-grants available to previous entrepreneurs to provide support to revive their businesses. This has allowed us to support 22 of our past entrepreneurs, with grant allocations valued between R1’500 and R5’000. Through this initiative, we aim to stimulate the local economy and allow some of our previous entrepreneurs to generate an income. We also worked with our entrepreneurs to improve their branding, and six of our entrepreneurs have received signage to strengthen their brand in preparation for their renewed start.
Looking ahead, we foresee an increased need for mirco-enterprise development. With few prospects ahead and few training opportunities for the communities of the Overberg region, employability and entrepreneurship skills training can make a real difference. We are looking at ways to make this programme more sustainable, to develop more ‘green’ micro-businesses and place a stronger emphasis on sustainable solutions that don’t depend as heavily on tourist spending. The Covid19 Pandemic and Lockdown regulations have made it abundantly clear that we need to boost micro-enterprises and sustainable businesses, to create opportunities from within communities who are no longer able to rely on employment opportunities through tourism.
Small, sustainable business owned by Ntombekhaya receiving new signage
Grootbos Foundation Covid19 Update
Grootbos Foundation had to think fast, adapt and respond to emergency community needs when presented the Covid 19 Pandemic. The Foundation Team has always worked hard to keep communication channels open and honest, and our communities needed help. This has been a learning process but the spirit of willingness has enabled the Foundation team to adapt and to continue to serve vulnerable people in ways that they need. From daily food, to washable masks to educational support, our team has worked with the community to build a response programme that left no need ignored. We have been privileged to work in partnership with the Overstrand Disaster Management Team to ensure fairness and consistency throughout. Thank you to everyone who supported this programme with such generosity and willingness!Donate to support Covid Relief ProgrammesGrootbos Foundation in the Future2020 will be incredibly challenging for the Grootbos Foundation as we dig deep to mix passion, creativity, resilience and hope to continue to deliver our goals. At least 50% of our income relies on tourism, on our partners at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and on the generosity of their guests. This income stream has been devastated by COVID 19 and the measures taken around the world to flatten the curve so that health care systems can cope. The Grootbos Foundation faces the stark realty that 50% of the income needed to deliver programmes to 11 556 individuals has essentially dried until the world starts to travel again.
A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS AND PARTNERS