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.
4000 are fed in Knysna: The E’pap Feeding Project – Run by Shelley and Peter Godsell– this is the original project the GRCT was set up to support and remains our biggest beneficiary. 4000 children are fed each school day as a result of GRCT financial support. Teaching bursaries are also funded.
490 are fed in GRCT Port Elizabeth – the GRCT team in Port Elizabeth manage E’pap feeding to 220 pupils across 4 small schools as well as the larger Missionvale Care Centre Primary school where 270 pupils are fed. The painted playgrounds team is funded and operates through GRCT PE.
400 are fed in Hout Bay – e’pap is fed through the Rotary Club. The GRCT initially funded 100% of the cost but the Rotary Club have now expanded the programme themselves and the GRCT funds 377 of the 775 children receiving e’Pap.
200 are fed at Vryburg – GRCT provides financial Support to Tiger Kloof School who administer e’Pap feeding 170 -200 children.
The GRCT is funding a new feeding project in Kleinmond, near Hermanus in the Western Cape. The e’Pap feeding is being ably overseen by Alta van Wyk, a local school principal, and the Rotary Club of Kleinmond.
Around 340 children in 6 schools/pre-schools are now enjoying a bowl of e’Pap each school morning. The children who attend these schools come from local communities seriously impacted by poverty and the e’Pap meal will make a significant difference to their school day.
Bambanani Village (formerly known as Skaaprus) is an informal settlement of around 1000 people, near to Ermelo in Mpumulanga which is east of Johannesburg. The settlement sits between a coal mine and a power station, but has no electricity or running water.
Vulinqondo Day Care Centre is a day care centre for approximately 43 pre-school children, located in the settlement. The centre provides education, play, meals and a safe space for parents to leave their children while at work.
The GRCT recently started funding e’Pap for these children. Our volunteer partners on the ground delivered the first instalment of e’Pap to the pre-school in July 2019. The initial commitment is for one year.
An exciting new partnership in Laingsburg located in the Central Karoo, Western Cape means that a further 120 children are now benefiting from a nutritious e’Pap breakfast. The project is co-ordinated by the Dutch Reformed Church Laingsburg, which supports a number of creches in the area.
The GRCT is funding a new project – a breakfast of e’Pap for 160 young children in the Wellington area, Western Cape. We are partnering with “Ma’s-vir-Wellington”, a non-profit organisation which has been serving this area for 13 years. Trained kitchen staff at the creches will be preparing the food for the children.
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.
The GRCT also provides equipment for struggling schools: chairs and tables for the children to sit at where previously they sat and worked on the floor and more pens and crayons to augment their limited supplies.
St Francis Bay
The GRCT funds e’Pap at 4 pre-schools in the St Francis Bay Area, for around 250 children. St Francis Bay is a holiday resort town about 60 miles from Port Elizabeth. There is a stark contrast between the holidays houses there and the homes in the surrounding townships. The feeding programmes are overseen by the Rotary Club of Francis Bay who are responsible for ordering and monitoring the e’Pap, and reporting to the GRCT.
One of the pre-schools is the Bright Future Creche which is situated in the Nompumelelo Village township in Tsitsikamma, close to Storms River Village. The creche does not have a reliable income as most parents struggle to pay the R100 monthly fee (around £5). Many children arrive at the school not having had breakfast and with no “lunch box” for the day. The pre-school was struggling to afford to feed the children, and a meal of e’Pap therefore makes all the difference to them.