Grootbos Foundation | Newsletter | April 2021

Grootbos Foundation | Newsletter | April 2021

Thank you to the friends and supporters of Grootbos Foundation. Without the investment, encouragement and generosity of each individual person, family, partner, volunteer and business, Grootbos Foundation programmes would not still be running and serving local communities. Our story is a shared human story. Thank you for walking this wonderful and winding path with us.

Back2School Update

Grootbos Foundation embarked on a fundraising campaign in December 2020 to reach out and support marginalized children in a small but meaningful way. Through this campaign we have been able to distribute 5’000 stationery packs which were customized for foundation, intermediate and senior phases within Overberg schools. 211 pairs of school schools were collected in partnership with Bata and Gansbaai Spar, and distributed to children in Masakhane Primary School and St Paul’s Primary School. Thank you to every person who contributed to our Back2School campaign! These gifts have helped to kickstart a positive school year full of hope.


Thank you to the incredible generosity of so many individual people who follow the stories of Grootbos Foundation and support our campaigns, we have been able to raise over R55 000 for our Green Futures College. These donations will support our Green Horticulture Interns in 2021 as they learn about horticulture, the Cape Floral Kingdom, fynbos identification and propagation, alien vegetation management and practical mentorship. At the same time, they will gain matric and individually selected online study programmes to pursue their unique goals in eco-tourism.

Thank you for supporting our students.


Female Empowerment Rebooted

Football Foundation Project Manager, Natasha Bredekamp, and assistant coach, Maxene Valentine, joined Waves for Change in a 2 week Wave Alliance workshop near the end of 2020. The goal was to learn about inspirational surf therapy and the mental resilience needed to challenge yourself to learn a new skill.

Natasha and Maxene have used their new Wave Alliance skills to totally revamp our Female Empowerment Programme into a brand new programme called Shewana (‘she wants to’). Through Shewana, teenage girls from Blompark and Masakhane will learn coping strategies for everyday challenges, assist in cross-cultural integration, learn to to be powerful young role models among their peers and develop their own inner strength and pride.

Maxene is a Football Foundation assistant coach and is also one of our star female rugby players. She is the lead facilitator for Shewana and we couldn’t be more excited by the new direction of this programme, and the impact it will have on young women in our area.

Football Foundation returns to Spaces4Sports

Football Foundation coaches play an invaluable role in supporting children, providing a place of safe afternoon activity, and providing life skills coaching. Community coaches teach far more than individual and team sports skills and strategies. They also teach life skills and a variety of interpersonal skills. They are role models to children and use games and sports to teach cultural integration, gender respect, female empowerment, conservation awareness, cultural tolerance, curiosity and even career planning.

Our coaches are excited to have been able to resume afternoon activity at Spaces4Sport, offering extra-curricular sporting activities to children. To comply with Covid 19 regulations, local government schools have halved the number of children in each classroom by alternating school attendance days by grade or language group. This results in many children searching for safe places of learning or activity on the days when they cannot go to school. Football Foundation coaches offer supportive programmes to keep these children safe, nourished and provide access to learning as well as the physical fun and stimulation of games and sports.


On 16 April 2020, Grootbos Foundation teamed up with Overstrand Disaster Management, iMed vision and many individual volunteers from the community to co-ordinate and deliver a Covid Relief Programme to address the new needs of bewildered local communities struggling to make sense of the newly locked-down world. Grootbos Foundation is deeply proud of the resilience, creativity and energy of not just the community but also of local volunteers, partner organizations, generous donors from around the world, and our very own team for making a difference in a meaningful way. Free daily meals, home food parcels, protective cloth masks, sanitizer and PPE products for schools so they could reopen, education support, digital and printing access, Covid protocol best practice, small business relief, small business seed funding, local supply chain boosting for fresh produce, ECD support to ensure ECD survival, home fitness programmes and ongoing wellness mentoring for the children and youths who rely on our team and coaches as role models are all parts of our Covid Relief Programme.

Economic recovery is still a long way off, especially in the tourism sector which has been hardest hit by the lockdown and various Covid 19 Levels. We, however, remain hopeful that we can provide much needed support to our community.

The Classroom

Access to learning in Masakhane

‘The Classroom’ came about as a response to high school learners desperately searching for a safe space to study, access the internet and to print assignments during lockdown in 2020 when local schools were closed. Schools have reopened but many grades are still only able to attend school on alternate days, leaving learners to work from home on other days. The Classroom is easily accessible in Masakhane and provides learners with a safe, nurturing space to study, learn and work towards a brighter future.

Coach Shereen helps with homework, projects, assignments and critical tertiary applications for those finishing school and planning for the future. Free digital access and tutorship opens doors.

ECDs reopen in 2021

The Early Childhood Development Centres in Masakhane welcomed back their little charges in mid-February! The children are excited for the new year with lots of fun, puzzling, singing, healthy nutrition and learning to prepare them for Grade R at ‘big school’ in 2022. The teachers and parents are so happy that these wonderful centres are able to reopen after having survived a very challenging 2020 when so many other ECDs around South Africa were forced to close.


Formalising the Walker Bay Protected Environment

The Walker Bay Protected Environment is in the process of being established through core properties located within the Walker Bay Conservancy.  Fauna and Flora International has funded this two-year project, which will consolidate their conservation impact within the Walker Bay and Agulhas Plain over the last 20 years.

The current conservancy consists of 49 members, conserving approximately 21 000 hectares of fynbos and forest landscapes. The proposed Protected Environment will conserve 5 249 hectares, and will include six nature reserves comprising approximately 3 943 hectares, creating a cumulative footprint of over 12 400 hectares. This will mean that 57% of the WBFC will have formal, secure conservation status!

Wildlife Monitoring in the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy

Our Conservation and Research unit has undertaken a fascinating wildlife survey within the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy using motion-sensor cameras to gather photographs and data on species found within the greater conservation area. This provides a baseline of the number of species located throughout the broader landscape, indicates where wildlife corridors are located and provides information on vegetation type including the spread and impact of alien vegetation. Wildlife monitoring informs landscape-level conservation decisions with information being shared among conservation organizations working within the Agulhas Plain. Our team helps to resolve situations of human/ wildlife conflict through offering advice and intervening to protect the interests of both humans and wildlife. 

Our Research and Conservation Unit are on a continued journey of discovery, searching every nook and cranny for a new species to add to the biodiversity lists for the region. This has led to new recording of the Many Spotted Reed Snake and possibly another first recording for the Cape Platanna in the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy.

You can also be a part of this biodiversity survey by making a donation towards the ongoing running costs of camera purchases, batteries for motion sensor cameras and the recording of data.


Hospitality Class of 2021

The Green Futures College offers a wonderful training opportunity and career stepping stone to unemployed youths in the area where very fewer training institutions exist. Training includes Housekeeping, Food and Beverage Service, Bar-keeping and Front of House. Students complete modules in Plant Identification, Alien Vegetation Management and Eco-Tourism as well as short courses in Entrepreneurship and Business Skills. The new students will complete a number of DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training) subjects which will give them the equivalent of a Grade 11 at the end of the year.

We have retained three of our Horticulture Students from 2020 who expressed special interest in gaining further eco-tourism work experience as well as an opportunity to gain the equivalent of their matric certificates.

The Class of 2021 loved their field trip around Gansbaai during which they got to visit the local tourism centre, the Strandveld Museum and the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary. These were first-time experiences for these young adults! 

Green Futures Nursery

Our Green Futures Nursery is open to the public. Visiting our nursery is an easy way to support the Grootbos Foundation and the Green Futures College. All profits generated from nursery sales are used to fund our students, and to create employment within the community. 
If you have a specific need, you can contact our nursery manager, Sharlene de Villiers: Telephone: 028 384 8043

DANAS Hockey Forest

In 2020, the DANAS National German Women’s Hockey team set themselves a goal to plant 2 020 trees in a dedicated indigenous forest at Grootbos. Their campaign was interrupted by the pandemic and the shifting of the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021, but they have not given up on their dream to raise funds to plant trees, uplift children through sports, and to offset their carbon footprint from sports travel. So far, the team, led by captain Janne Muller-Wieland, has worked miracles in the last year through driving this fundraising initiative to plant 963 trees at Grootbos. They have also supported the sports programmes of the Football Foundation, and the overall environmental and community goals of Grootbos Foundation through sharing and partnership. 

Janne Muller-Wieland has generously shared the Grootbos Foundation story in the Unthink collaborative network which brings innovative professionals from the sports, academic and business sectors together with international Non-Government Organizations, to share brain power, creativity and unique solutions for a world which has been altered by the pandemic. 

We wish South Africa, the DANAS team as well as all other national sports team travelling to the Tokyo Olympic Games a thrilling, successful and safe Games. Sports and the spirit of the Olympic Games will rebuild our world.

Thank you to Janne, Nike and the DANAS team, friends and family who supported the campaign and planted trees.
Thank you to the DANAS Team Management and friends from de Alster Hockey.
Thank you to Team Unthink for your generosity of spirit.

Your love of sports and how it can change the world are an inspiration to all.


Entrepreneurship support in the Overberg

To encourage economic recovery within our region, we have planned to offer six entrepreneurship workshops in 6 towns in the Overberg. Workshops have already been hosted in Elim, Gansbaai, Hawston and Mount Pleasant with the final two workshops scheduled to take place in Stanford and Zwelihle.
  243 eager applicants applied for our workshops proving the real interest and genuine need for business training and support in the region. The programme highlight is that workshop trainees are given the chance to pitch business ideas to a mixed and impartial panel of friendly ‘Dragons’ in the Dragon’s Dens hosted in each town. 35 small and micro businesses will be selected to receive seed funding in the form of stock, equipment and mentorship for their small businesses. 

Our goal is to stimulate and mentor new entrants to the green economy to empower the youth and women.  We can’t wait to see the incredible ideas and businesses that emerge from these workshops. Watch this space for upcoming news from our newest, bravest entrepreneurs.  

Spotlight on one of our previous entrepreneurs:

Esmarelda Esau

Esmerelda Esau is a Hawston-based, take-away owner who supports her three children through her small business. She promised her mother that she would never leave school and she stayed true to her promise, matriculating in 1996. Esmerelda has worked very hard to build her business and is enormously grateful for the business training, mentorship, and seed funding from Grootbos Foundation which enabled her to buy equipment in 2019. In 2020, a business relief grant from Grootbos Foundation enabled her to reopen when lockdown regulations permitted. ‘Thank you, Grootbos Foundation!’


Agulhas Bioidversity Initiative |Adidas | Asics | Burmar Civils and Build-it Gansbaai  | Canada Fund | Chris Wolfe | Common Goal | Crayfish Lodge | De Alster Hockey Club | Dell Foundation |  Felix Unite | Flower Valley Conservation Trust | Futura Foundation | Fauna & Flora International |  Flower Valley Conservation Trust |  German Consulate Cape Town | Gansbaai Tourism Manager – Glenda Kitley | Grootbos Guests | Hermanus Rotary | HCI Foundation | i-Med Vision | Investec | Jack Cheetham Award via Murray & Roberts | Jeff and Julie Thompson | Jerry van Niekerk | Jim Petrie | Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust | Kai Kunze | Ker&Downey | Keith Breede | Laureus | LOMAS Conservation Trust | Mathias Kirschner | Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund | National Commission of Lotteries South Africa | New Balance | Overstrand Municipality Area Manager – Mr Francois Myburgh | Paddy Kelly | Premier League | Prism the Gift Fund | Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation | Rotary International | Rand Merchant Bank | RTL Media Germany | Sing Meinen Song Germany | Semester at Sea | streetfootballworld | Stern | Swiss Re Foundation | Taurus Cape Kelp | UEFA Foundation for Children | Thomas & Marianne Wellauer | Wereldwijd voor Kinderen | WWF Table Mountain Fund |  Woolworths Finance Just Cause Team |  UEFA Foundation for Children | 

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