Grootbos Foundation

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The Grootbos Foundation was established in 2004 to run the Grootbos Environmental and Social Development Programme and has as its mission: The conservation of biodiversity of Grootbos and its surrounds and development of sustainable nature based livelihoods through ecotourism, research, management and education.

Our major projects are the Green Futures Horticultural and Life Skills College, Growing the Future Food Production and Life Skills Training projects and our Football Foundation.

The GREEN FUTURES HORTICULTURAL AND LIFE SKILLS COLLEGE was officially opened on 9 August 2003. Since then, 70 carefully selected graduates have completed the horticultural and life skills course and all of them have found employment.

Entry requirements are very strict. Applicants have to reside in the local villages of Stanford or Gansbaai and must have a minimum of Grade 9 schooling, have a sound knowledge of English and must be unemployed. The horticultural component of the course includes plant identification, an appreciation of the natural fynbos vegetation, how and why it should be preserved, propagation skills in their own nursery, garden design, as well as garden establishment and maintenance using water wise techniques.

All theory is backed up by a vast range of practical work in gardens in Gansbaai, Hermanus and Cape Town. Every year, three of the best students are given the opportunity to visit and work at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, where they are excellent ambassadors for Grootbos and South Africa. The remainder of the students are provided with the opportunity to spend three weeks working at either Kirstenbosch or Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens.

The life skills component of the course includes a first aid course, numeracy skills, literacy skills, health issues, an AIDS awareness programme, interpersonal skills, money management, basic computer skills, basic business skills as well as completing a drivers license in our training vehicle that was kindly sponsored by ABSA.

In addition to the education curriculum the College provides transport, breakfast and lunch, a uniform, equipment and a basic wage for all students. Once the course in completed, each student is awarded a nationally accredited certificate, allowing them to continue their studies and assisting them in job application and placement.

Linked to the college is an indigenous plant nursery and fynbos landscaping business that generates income for the Green Futures Project. By the students working together with the professional Green Futures landscaping team in fynbos landscaping projects, they build up experience in this field as well as raising funds for the students of the following year, encouraging team building, pride in their abilities, a sense of responsibility and business understanding.

All of the past students have gained work in horticultural, conservation or eco-tourism businesses. For many students, the course provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a career and positive outlook on their future.

Green Futures has grown from a modest beginning into one of the most successful and significant social upliftment programs of its kind. The Grootbos Foundation is working with its partners in developing a strategy to roll out Green Futures Colleges to other sites in the Western Cape.

The GROWING THE FUTURE FOOD PRODUCTION AND LIFE SKILLS TRAINING programme was implemented following the success of our Green Futures programme. The Grootbos Foundation has embarked on a new training project to further our commitment to developing the local community. Growing the Future is about food production, and 8 of the women will be trained per year in the growing of vegetables and fruit, beekeeping and the principles of successful animal husbandry.

The skills that these women learn can be applied in many small ways; on a small piece of land in a township, each could grow enough vegetables to feed her family; through co-operative land use, the graduates could grow produce on a commercial level; and if they return to their homelands, the arable soils could provide the income that forces many of the young people in the rural areas to migrate to the cities in the first place.

To give the course recognition, we will follow the ABET guidelines, and graduates will receive a Level 4 ABET qualification. This has two advantages; one being that graduates will be a cut above in the employment market, and secondly that the women can continue their education at any ABET centre nationwide, if they are so motivated.

For the students the course is fully subsidised - they receive transport, tools, uniforms and all of their study materials, as well as weekly stipend to cover their living costs. From the Grootbos Foundation point of view, the project must be sustainable. To achieve this, we cannot rely purely on donations and sponsorships, but part finance the project through the sale of their produce. This is a great way in which the students also contribute towards their education through their practical work.

The FOOTBALL FOUNDATION, which focuses on sports development, was implemented as a result of the recent 2010 Soccer World Cup which was hosted in South Africa. As a result of lack of training facilities in Gansbaai, it was Michael’s dream to build a multipurpose facility which would serve as a community development project. This dream has been realised, and the Gansbaai Communal Sport Centre was officially opened on 20 April 2008 by the Overstrand Mayor, Mr Theodorus Beyleveldt, Barclays’ Group Vice Chairman, Mr Gary Hoffman, ABSA Group Executive Director, Mr Happy Ntishingila, and representatives from the Grootbos Foundation.

The Grootbos Foundation believes that through the development of these facilities and thus the creation of opportunities for young people - especially those who are deprived of these opportunities, to participate in sport, have access to professional coaching, and learn about the environment, our vision of improved social integration and development of community will be realised. Sport is a wonderfully simple way to break down social barriers and bring people together on even terms. For the youth of our townships, it also provides a healthy focus and inspires pride and determination to succeed.

The SPACES FOR SPORT project has been made possible through fantastic collaboration between the Grootbos Foundation, ABSA, Barclays, Overstrand Municipality, the Barclays Premier League and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. The project is also supported by the Football Association of South Africa. Tiger Turf UK supplied us with a full size, third generation FIFA standard artificial grass pitch, which is the first of its kind in Southern Africa. It is thanks to organisations like these that we can initiate such community sports programmes to build a positive future for South Africa.

The site was chosen due to its unique position in the centre of three diverse communities in Gansbaai: Masakhane Township comprises of about 12 000 black residents, the Blompark community has about 5 000 coloured residents, and the Gansbaai white community consists of about 8 000 residents. There was a dire need for good sporting facilities in the town with almost non-existent sporting facilities at Lukhanyo Primary School in Masakhane, limited facilities at Gansbaai Primary in Blompark, and 18 senior soccer clubs in Gansbaai who all had to share one pitch. This facility will therefore serve a much needed purpose in giving everyone around it the opportunity to play different kinds of sport whilst engaging with other communities. It is therefore vital that as many people as possible have access to the communal sports centre, and to facilitate this, training sessions are held several time a week where the coaches are often greeted by over a hundred kids.

The Grootbos Foundation will continue to manage and develop the project continues to concentrate on fundraising for the needs of the centre. Lean Terblanche is our project co-ordinator and is tireless in her efforts to organise training sessions, matches and leagues for the teams. She operates as the Football Foundation of South Africa, and has strong links with the Barclays Premier League and South African Football Association. Many of the youngsters that participate don’t have the privilege of owning their own kit, and we are grateful to be able to use kind contributions from all our supporters and donors to make things possible.

Operates in: Gansbaai / Stanford, Western Cape
Established in: 2005

Non-Profit Organisation Number: 053-605
Public Benefit Organisation Number: 930023319
Section 21 Company Number:
Trust Number:

Contact person: Sean Privett
Phone: 028 384 8084
Fax: 028 384 8100
Physical address: Off the R43, between Stanford and Gansbaai
Postal address: P O Box 148, Gansbaai, 7220

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