Literacy and Education Advancement
We place a high importance on education with the aim of breaking down the education-based poverty trap in this community and ultimately contributing to better opportunities at future employment. This is done by providing tutors for literacy classes at various primary schools as well as tutoring after school.
Wordworks and Paired Reading
Early intervention programmes designed to strengthen early child literacy and language development using these proven programmes. For more information go to wordworks.org.za
After School Tutoring
We provide one-on-one help with homework in our After School Programme with a focus on Maths and English.
GCU provides workshops that teach and encourage positive Life Skills such as healthy behaviour; goal setting; self-management skills; self-esteem building; and problem solving.
The Continuum Project
Along with the focus on youth at a grassroots level, and with the backdrop of high unemployment for school leavers in South Africa, GCU offers tutoring and coaching positions to recent high school graduates.
GCU has introduced chess to the primary schools in Heideveld which has been well received and is a popular activity.
Physical Education and Sport
At our after school programme we want the children to primarily have fun in a safe space. This is balanced with the structure of organised activities like soccer; rope skipping; volleyball; table tennis and chess.
Many government schools in South Africa no longer offer physical education as part of the curriculum. GCU fills that gap by providing Phys. Ed. coaches to a number of primary schools in Heideveld. Sports and exercises are done with a strong emphasis on developing fine motor skills. Other benefits include: developing social competence; problem solving skills; and enhancing self-esteem.
GCU Football Club has around 200 players from u/7 to u/19. When needed we supplement kit, boots and food, and provide transportation. The uniforms are particularly important in giving the youngsters a sense of identity, pride and belonging and are often a powerful alternative to the colours and insignias associated with the gangs.
An activity that is both aerobic and anaerobic, rope skipping has had a huge impact on our children both physically and mentally. GCU has a long history of excellence in this sport and has provided various teams that have competed at the provincial level.
Outdoor and unstructured play
Beyond the formal sporting codes GCU and the coaches encourage and facilitate unstructured outdoor activities and play. This has included park cleaning and upgrading projects, gardening and physical activities in the park.
Early Childhood Development and Foster Care
The Heideveld community has a shortage of ECD centres and many of the parents in the community can’t afford or do not appreciate the importance of early childhood development. GCU has established a small creche which is accessible and affordable. A property has been acquired and plans are at an advanced stage for the development of a multi-classroom Creche Centre and for the training of local teachers so that the facility will offer up to 200 ECD places once it is fully operational.
Youth Employment & Empowerment
The young adults who are involved with the organisation as a tutor or coach often find that it is a stepping stone to the career they dreamed of but thought was an impossibility.
Career Path Project
In a society where job prospects look dim, GCU provides learners with attentive assistance in helping them pursue their dreams. The youth learn to communicate their passions and life ambitions and where possible, GCU helps provide those first steps to ultimately going into their ideal profession. This may involve linking them to a certain tertiary institution and helping with the needed paperwork; or helping with an internship in the desired field of work.
YearBeyond or YeBo is a Youth Service programme which aims to provide 18-25 year olds with a meaningful work experience and a pathway to further studies or work while at the same time encouraging a culture of active citizenship and volunteerism. The partnership with GCU places the participants in primary schools in Heideveld where they assist teachers and help make subjects like Maths and English fun for the learners. For more information go to yearbeyond.org
Tree planting and park improvement projects, as well as initiatives to clean up public spaces are ongoing projects undertaken by GCU. These are aimed at giving the youth a sense of ownership and teaching them about the benefits of looking after their environment. These projects also aim to generate an appreciation for cleaner spaces in the community and a respect for common properties in the community.
GCU has initiated a number of food garden and common property planting initiatives. These are challenging in the very sandy and windy environment and lack of easily available water. Nevertheless, the projects have inspired members of the community and changes are evident with more gardens and trees being nurtured and surviving.
Feeding the Hungry
From its very beginning GCU saw the need to feed the young people in the community, particularly primary school children. Feeding schemes have been established at a number of the primary schools, some of which have subsequently been taken over by those schools. GCU has also provided food to the community for many years with weekly and sometimes multiple feeding projects every week.
In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID crisis the increased need to feed the hungry was evident and GCU redirected its resources (since the schools were closed) to providing food parcels and more regular feeding.
Mother City Kitchen Project
In June GCU partnered with Woodstock Brewery and their Mother Soup project. The idea of ‘Mother Soup’ was born out of a simple realisation that a craft brewery, the Woodstock Brewery, had some of the largest kettles in Cape Town (the “Mother City”) that could be re-purposed from brewing beer to making soup.
Using the large kettle economies of scale, the Mother Soup initiative has provided up to 21,000 adult soup portions per day (7,000 litres). Mother Soup is more than a bowl of soup, it’s a meal. The recipes are designed by certified nutritionists and chefs. With added supplements (protein & healthy fats) Mother Soup aimed to ensure that the soup was tasty while providing the calorific and nutritional equivalent of a healthy balanced meal. Fresh bread is also provided with each meal and the meals are delivered hot to those who need it most.
Mother Soup is now being run by GCU. GCU is a registered NPO and PBO which has been in existence for 20 years. All activities and costs not directly related to the making and distribution of soup are covered by donations and volunteers. GCU is authorised to issue S18A donation certificates for donations made to the Mother City Kitchen project. More than 700,000 meals have been prepared and distributed so far in 2021, taking the total during the 12 month project to more than 4 million meals! These meals have been prepared at an average cost of well below R1.25 per meal.
While the Woodstock Brewery remains the production facility for the soup for the next three or four months, a “Mother City Kitchen” dedicated to large scale permanent fresh food production is being currently being developed.
GCU sees a long term need to supply meals to hungry Capetonians, particularly through the Non-Governmental and schools network. We have learnt about the massive efficiencies that can be achieved through large scale cooking, and with an ever improving (and growing) distribution network, becoming a meaningful and effective large scale provider of nutrition.
The vision is that our model will be replicated so that City Kitchens are established throughout South Africa and beyond where the needs exist.
Factory fitout and operating budgets have been finalised and are detailed below. We hope that the permanent facility will be able to take production over from the Woodstock Brewery in the third quarter of 2021.
GCU is seeking funding assistance with factory fit out costs as well as to ongoing operational costs. In return GCU’s Mother City Kitchen will provide an estimated 250,000 nutritious meals delivered hot to those who need it most.