Literacy and Education Advancement
We place a highly value education, with the aim of breaking down the education-based poverty trap in this community. We aim to create better opportunities for future employment. This is done by providing tutors at various primary schools who tutor during and after school hours.
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 and literacy and maths as well as games and coaching.
GCU provides workshops foster positive life skills that aid healthy behaviour, goal setting, self-management, self-esteem 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 more..
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 local parents can’t afford or do not understand the importance of early childhood development. GCU has established a small creche which is accessible and affordable. Property has been acquired to build a multi-classroom creche centre and for up to 200 local youth and the training of local teachers. It is currently being crowd-funded here.
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.More
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 with difficult access to water. Nevertheless, the projects have inspired members of the community and changes are evident.
Feeding the Hungry
A child can’t and won’t learn on an empty stomach. From its inception GCU saw the need to feed the young people in the community. Feeding schemes have been established at a number of the primary schools, some 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, during COVID-19 we increased our focus on feeding projects producing over 5 million meals with partners. This resulted in our new project for efficient food production: Mother City Kitchen.
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.More