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Social Responsibility



Our (The Valley and Mountains Development Foundation) shoe & clothes project started during the June holidays this year in the small community of Bonnievale, a project for which serves extremely underprivileged communities.

Bonnievale is in the Western Cape on Route 62, a very popular destination for tourists.
The area is known for its many wine cellars which produce award-winning wines and fruit for the export market.  While the farming operations require a large labour force during the harvesting time, the employment is totally seasonal. In Bonnievale only 41% of the non-white community have permanent employment, almost exclusively in the agricultural sector, while 9% find seasonal jobs. The remaining 50% rely on grants from the government (statistics from Badisa). An enormous percentage of these receivers of grants are single mothers of whom just too many are teenagers who fell pregnant. Because of the lack of education and skills, they have no chance of entering the labour market.

The Foundation deals with a severely disadvantaged, impoverished  non-white community where one is confronted with many challenges: alcohol and drug dependency, disintegrated families, overcrowded small homes, HIV/Aids, TB, malnutrition, low literacy, high drop-out levels from school, an alarming number of teenage pregnancies, gangsterism and sexual offences.

The community has lost all sense of self-confidence and self-worth and has no hope. They simply do not believe that life can be any better. Adult education and training facilities are needed to develop empower and encourage them.

In a recent study sanctioned by government on the violent nature of crime in South Africa, it was concluded that the dysfunctional nature of households was a major contributor to the state of affairs. It was found that the lack of intact family structures and the enormous percentage of single mothers raising children, especially boys, on their own, was a breeding ground for criminals. In such an environment boys tend to grow up with anger and resentment towards society. When they come into direct confrontation with a victim, all the bottled up emotions are unleashed and result in a violent criminal act.

Rudolph Zinn did research for his book “Home Invasion” (Tafelberg) amongst young prisoners and came to the same conclusion. He found that 70% of case studies grew up in broken homes without a father, and 80% dropped out of school and did not have secondary school education.

In the light of these findings and the shocking realities, we have the “perfect mix of circumstances” here in Bonnievale to breed a whole new generation of criminals.
Help us to break this curse over these children who did not choose to be born into such conditions.

Through our involvement with the children, the whole spectrum of problems in the community came to our attention. We realized that unless all the socio-economic problems of the entire community get addressed at the various levels, the work done with the preschool children would not have any long-term effect on the community.

For this reason a Non-profit organization, The Valleys and Mountains Development Foundation, was registered which opens up more opportunities to obtain support for the various projects.

The Foundation has various experts on the board: a retired professor in educational psychology, a social worker, a pastor, teachers, a youth worker, a human resources manager and a public relations manager.

The activities of the Foundation are divided into various projects whereby each focuses on a specific sector of the community with their specific needs.

“Cape Union Mart has really impacted the community and enhanced the current youth programmes which require the youth to have good, quality shoes for sporting and outdoor activities. As well as the clothes you provided.  It has also really made the youth feel special to know that there are people and businesses out there that care about them.  The Foundation trusts that we will be able to continue to strengthen this relationship with Cape Union Mart.” - Petro McDonald:  Executive Director.

The project was initiated by the Dutch reformed church and was driven by Wilhelm De Wet, Managing Director of South African Actuaries Abroad CC (www.sa3.co.za).  Over the last eight years they have established themselves as one of the leading actuarial recruitment firms in South Africa. 

The project is aimed at underprivileged people from our community and people who appreciate the small things in life.  The shoes and clothes were sponsored by Cape Union Mart (http://www.capeunionmart.co.za) in Cape Town for the 1st year.  SOUTH AFRICA'S FAVOURITE OUTDOOR STORE, Cape Union Mart has been equipping South African adventurers since 1933, and is South Africa's favourite outdoor adventure store.  Stocking everything one needs for outdoor pursuits - including hiking, camping, trail running, mountain biking, snow sports, travel and more - Cape Union Mart is an essential first step in every adventure. Cape Union Mart has stores across South Africa, and in Namibia and Botswana.

The shoes & clothes that we received from Cape Union Mart are samples that retailers send back after ordering.  We get a number of shoes we need to find a suitable matching mate for.  The pairs are not 100% exact, but it is the idea that counts.  We managed to pair up 500 pairs of shoes, and we got a whole lot of clothes.

It took us two days and twelve volunteers, to sort the shoes and clothes.  First getting all the sizes together, then sorting left from right, separating men- and woman shoes and the same with the clothes.  The types of shoes varied from crocs, slippers, tekkies, boots, sandals, and Sunday shoes.

The shoes and clothes were handed out at The Valleys and Mountains Development Foundation
(http://www.valleysmountainskids.co.za/index.php/projects), Vangnet, Amos Church Project, NG Church, Bonnievale Hoërskool (Hostel Kallie Heese) and other informal settlement areas in and around Bonnievale.

“Thank you for caring for the hostel kids, I will take care of shoes”

“My shoes are cool – never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I will get such nice shoes.  Thank you for making my dream come true”

“I got a pair of crocs!! I am so thankful”

“This gift you gave us is so special – Thank you”

“Thank you for the kindness you show and for my quality & expensive shoes, I appreciate it”  

“This is to thank you for the shoes I received, it keeps my feet nice and warm – and it’s a perfect fit!”

The Shoe project opens ones heart, to appreciate all your blessings in life and to identify the need in someone else’s life.


MW De Wet
Managing Director of South African Actuaries Abroad CC


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