GSDT

GSDT

GSDT is run as a holistic project which also provides learners with nutritious meals, monitors their health, their psychological welvare and provides them with essential life skills for the future. At present close to 300 children attend the programme.

The Macias Restis Family Trust approached the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust (GSDT) through their now deceased representative in South Africa, Jannie Momberg, a former South African ambassador to Greece.
Their initial intention was to establish a project that would benefit orphans from homes that were affected by HIV/AIDS and as a result the Macias Restis After-School Care Programme was established. This programme now forms part of the merged Education Project at the Trust and has since been broadened to include not only orphans, but also learners with the potential to excel academically. The main mission of the GSDT is to provide a safe environment for the school going youth of Khayamandi, Stellenbosch, where development and nurturing can take place in a positive manner and where learners can begin the process of exceling academically.

The environment in which the Macias Restis Family Trust projects are located is characterized by poverty, rapid migration and constant transition and upheaval. The GSDT is situated in Khayamandi, a township in Stellenbosch, South Africa with more than 30 000 inhabitants, of which only 7000 have resided there for longer than 15 years. More than 70% of Khayamandi residents migrated from a rural, agrarian environment with an oral culture, to a rapidly developing industrialized environment where the language of commerce, English, is foreign to them and where literacy is mostly a pre-requisite to survive. For a period around the turn of the century Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa where three of the fastest growing cities in the world, due to this rapid migration from rural, agrarian environments.

Information on Kayamandi and surrounds

Poor Socio-Economic Circumstances

  • The majority of Kayamandi live in poverty
  •  As many as 20 000 out of the estimated 30 000 inhabitants of Kayamandi live in houses made of scrap pieces of wood, hardboard and corrugated iron sheets
  • On average, they share their two roomed shack with 5 others
  •  The majority of the youth come from fatherless homes
  • The adult they live with is not necessarily a biological parent
  • The adult they live with often does not earn more than R1000 a month( less than 100 Euro)
  • They see, hear of and experience sexual abuse, teenage pregnancies, AIDS deaths and drug related crimes on a regular basis
  • They face overwhelming pressure to use alcohol as means for recreation
  • There are only a few meaningful recreational youth activities in Kayamandi.

Poor Schooling System

  • There are 12 grade 10 classes at the 2 High Schools in Kayamandi, each with an average of 40+ children
  • The average age for grade 10 at these schools is 18, that is two years older than the expected age
  • Of the youth interviewed, 25 % had failed the term
  • The majority show poor proficiency in English
  • A substantial amount of grade 10´s has no access to a computer while up to 30% have never used a computer.

Lack of Opportunities

  • The majority of the youth in Kayamandi has had little exposure to cultural events, places of cultural and historical interest and places of learning outside Kayamandi.
  • Most have never been to restaurant as patrons, or to the movies, or to a theatre, museum, art gallery, or Robben Island – even though there are numerous that document African heritage and South Africa’s political past.
  • The youth have very limited access to information; most do not have access to the internet.
  • The majority of adults in Kayamandi have been displaced from other regions and other countries and lack basic skills such as English language abilities, household budget skills, knowledge about their rights and where to get financial assistance from government.

Lack of Role Models

  •  The adults in most of these youths’ lives are blue collar workers, domestic workers or are unemployed. This means that most have not completed school and testify to not being able to assist their children with school work sufficiently or career planning
  • Most of the adults in their lives do not speak basic English, the language of commerce in South Africa and lot of the adults cannot read or write.
  •  Most of these youth, do not know anyone at college or university but know a multitude of people who have completed Grade 12 and remained unemployed.
  • Unfortunately, those people from Kayamandi who do succeed leave Kayamandi to live in the suburbs.
  • A reigning township culture of violence against women and children coupled with alcohol abuse

These are but some of the problems that make the prospects for succeeding in life low for the majority of youth in Kayamandi. Few youth dream of a brighter future.

Changes at the GSDT over the last 10 years

  • The school marks and skills levels of the children in the programme show gradual improvement.  This did not come easily.  We worked for some years with rather erratic results.  The present upward curve is gradual, but steadfast.  We are increasingly discovering some key elements that seem to bring measurable results.
  • We have introduced some changes to meals for the children at the Trust Centre.  Generally we do not try to provide a main meal for the day for a child any more.  We do provide nutritious complementary meals.  The changes in the food that we provide followed some basic research conducted by members of a food committee, whose members include staff, trustees, community representatives and a nutritionist.
  •  Management and administration of the project is more efficient after the previous two education projects were merged into one project.
  • The iKhaya Trust Centre is becoming more popular, it already has iconic status in Khayamandi.  Performances and functions in the auditorium are rich and varied and are happening more frequently every week.  References to the Centre regularly pop up in newspapers and magazines.  The Centre has been included in the South African Architectural Year Book for 2011.

Click here to visit the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust website.