“Without extracurricular activities young people turn to drugs, alcohol and gangsterism which leads to high dropout and failure rates. Also, kids turn to gangsterism because of their need for a sense of belonging that many don’t have in their fragmented family environment. If left alone, it is a cycle that will just continue.”
Mario van Niekerk – Founder
Description: Our programmes cover a range of needs in the community of Heideveld, from Education, After Schools Programs, Feeding, etc. We make a difference through ....
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.
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.
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 and 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.
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 Soup 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.More