The Goedgedacht Trust is based on the Goedgedacht farm in Riebeeksrivier, just outside of Malmesbury and 75 km from Cape Town in the Western Cape of South Afrika. In this wine-growing area, many farm workers and their families are trapped in poverty for many generations. The effects of poverty are evident everywhere: poor and overcrowded accommodation, illiteracy, high school drop-out rates, alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, unskilled young people and adults, HIV/AIDS, shockingly high rates of Tuberculosis and some of the highest levels of children born with FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) in the world.
The POP Program
The Trust was established in 1993 and believes not one single project can change the face of rural poverty for a child. Instead, a long-term model is needed. Intervene as early as possible in the lives of children; protect and nurture them through the first 1,000 days of their lives, preparing them for school; and then do everything to keep them in school for as long as possible. Help them heal, strengthen their confidence, build coping skills, help them recognize their resilience and reach their individual potential. The Path out of Poverty program (POP Program) addresses the cycles of poverty and consists of more than 34 different projects within four core themes:
- Personal Development – Build resilient and confident young people with strong values and sound self-esteem. Projects are for example holiday programs for youth, Rural Leadership Program, adult workshops, youth involvement in community work.
- Health – For example projects that focus on identification of developmental deficits in small children, maternal malnutrition, FASD prevention programme, meal program for children, provision of sanitary wear and toiletries to teenagers which prevent dropping out of high school, opportunities for children to shower and wash clothes at POP centres and First Aid and Child Development Training for Safe House mothers.
- Education – Aims to prevent school dropouts by covering the First Thousand Days (FTD) and preparing children for school. Getting children into school and helping them stay in school until they reach their full potential is the next challenge. Projects focus on parenting training, counseling for pregnant mothers, early childhood education (0-6 yrs), after-school support (7-18 yrs), leadership training (18-25 yrs) and adult education courses
- Care for the Planet – South Africa is heating more rapidly and becoming drier than any other part. Poverty among rural villagers will deepen and it’s going to be a matter of survival. Every rural person needs to know how to grow their own food in order to feed themselves. Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles that simulate or directly utilize the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. A complete range of training courses in this area is offered to the community members.
The program is currently active in nine communities: Riebeeksrivier, Riebeek-Kasteel, Riebeek-West, Paarl, Koringberg, Prince Albert, Riverlands, Chatsworth, and Porterville. They have several ways of generating income to fund the work of the trust: the farm has a conference and wedding venue, the Goedgedacht Trading Company produces high quality extra virgin olive oil as well as a range of other products and there are a number of shops around Cape Town called “Help the Rural Child” who sell second-hand items.
What to expect as an intern with Goedgedacht?
There are two large gardens on the farm where most of the work takes place. You will work in the garden to familiarize yourself with the work they do. Once you know that and understand permaculture, there is plenty of possibilities to get involved in some of the work that goes on behind the scenes. On the farm also seven hectares of land has been allocated where they grow vegetables, olives and a wide variety of herbs and trees. It is very safe on the farm and incredibly beautiful, if you enjoy sunsets and long mountain walks, connecting with nature, our water comes from deep in the mountain and we have a number of dams that are great for swimming and cooling down after a busy day.
As an intern, you will have plenty of time to interact with the local communities and are sure to get your hands dirty.