The Garden Route Children’s Trust, or GRCT for short, is a UK-based charity. The aim of the GRCT is to alleviate poverty amongst children in South Africa through the provision of food and education. Nourishing the bodies and minds of children in need gives them a good, healthy foundation on which to build, and helps them to learn to look after themselves and their families.
e’Pap Feeding Project
The principal beneficiary of the GRCT is The e’Pap Children’s Feeding Project, which is currently helping to feed over 4,000 children. It was founded in 2003 by Shelley Godsell and under her direction has grown greatly. Approximately 90 volunteers, who live in Knysna, Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay give their services freely to help with the distribution of the porridge and the liaising with the schools. Consequently money given goes directly to the point of need. Read about the various visits of GRCT Trustees to the feeding project in our newsletters.
Find out more about e’Pap on their website.
Missionvale Care Centre
The GRCT is currently funding a nutrition programme for a few hundred children who come to the centre every afternoon. Missionvale is situated in a shackland community of 100,000 people where there are no services and the unemployment rate is about 70% and the HIV infection rate 60%. There are many households headed up by grandparents or teenagers, where parents have died of AIDS. We are supporting the centre’s Children’s Support and Development Programme. See their website for more details. The GRCT also funds the feeding of 165 children in the small Missionvale school ensuring that each child has a bowl of e’Pap on every school day.
Find out more about Missionvale Care Centre on their website.
Equipment for schools
The GRCT provides equipment for struggling schools: chairs and tables for the children to sit at where previously they sat and worked on the floor; climbing frames and swings to make the playground less bleak and to stimulate their playtime; more pens and crayons to augment their limited supplies.
The GRCT has assisted with the funding of the introduction of the excellent Numicon maths programme, at 15 pre-schools which are affiliated to the Knysna Education Trust. The Numicon maths programme was developed to teach pre-school children new ways of understanding mathematics. The feedback from the pre-schools has been extremely positive. Teachers attend Numicon training sessions and the children’s progress is tracked.
In 2015, GRCT began funding the feeding of e’Pap to extremely needy children in the sprawling settlements of Hout Bay outside Cape Town. The GRCT has been providing e’Pap for around 60 children at The Little Angels crèche. Keith Bull, a Hout Bay Rotarian, is kindly managing the project on behalf of the GRCT. About 300 children are also being fed in the Siyazama and Wavecrest crèches and the scheme there is being ably managed by Liz Huckle, a nurse who is the chair of the Hout Bay Health Forum and a great friend of Hout Bay Rotary.
The Trustees have amended the objects of the Garden Route Children’s Trust so that the charity can consider helping children anywhere in South Africa, and not just in the Southern Cape. The first beneficiaries outside the Cape were situated near Vryberg in the North West Province. The Trustees regularly consider the financing of new ventures which will help young children in South Africa.