The 7th of the seventh month 2016 marked an important day for the Cape West Coast community of Atlantis. Hirsch’s is a proud patron of Out of Africa Children’s Foundation (OOACF) and PRO Monique van der Walt attended the launch of their latest project the Boyz & Girlz Empowerment Project. Campaign donors from around the globe gathered to celebrate the opening of the after-care centre, a safe-haven where children can be uplifted and sustained.
Atlantis is a town of some 30,000 people that was founded during the South Afrcan Apartheid era. Between 1979 and 1986 the people of colour from around Cape Town descended upon the area as government-provided subsidies and other inducements were given to companies to create employment and were later withdrawn, forcing the relocation of these companies and creating a culture of unemployment, crime and poverty. The OOACF recognizes that the solution to change the culture of this community lies in breaking the cycle and adjusting the mindset of the youth.
An example of the challenges that face Atlantis was in the tour of the nearby government funded Kerria Primary School that has 1,221 learners but only receive food funding only covering 174 of those children. Most of these learners come from single-parent households are left to fend for themselves in the streets after school, inevitably leading to a life of crime and gangsterism.
The launch of the Boyz & Girls Empowerment Project after-care centre will provide a relief and development environment for the learners, with bursaries, incentives and later job creation, broadening their horizons through the education, fun and love. Honoured patrons include Archbishop Desmond Tutu represented at the launch by his granddaughter Nyniso, Olivier and the Vanden Eynde Family from Belgian NPO Close the Gap, Cape Town City Council representatives on behalf of Mayor, and many big corporates such as Engen Oil, Woolworths and KZN Oil CEO Rajen Reddy.
The ceremony began with OOACF founder Kim Highfield thanking the patrons and community members that have poured their blood sweat and tears into the project from inception to launch. She outlined the key critical success factors in changing the mindset of the community’s youth to be addressed at the centre; homework assistance, holiday program, hot meals daily and extra lessons focusing on the future of each child. Rajen Reddy addressed the donors and members, closing by urging them to spread the word and involve other community members, uniting the town in a stand for change, against poverty and create a more efficient and organization to assist the foundation.
The ribbon was untied and the donors made their way into the community hall were each member left their own mark in Atalntis in a colourful handprint, the emblem for OOACF, followed by the cake cutting. Archbishop Tutu’s granddaughter Nyniso handed out the cake to the first children in the centre. “And what do you say?” she asked before she passed the cake into the small open palms. “Thank you” was the reply from a small voice, a voice filled with hope, promise of a better life ahead and gratefulness to all the individual’s that made this start home possible.
For more information contact Kim Highfield big5@outofafricaCF.org or 0724301818.