Combatting rural poverty

Ingrid Lestrade, Goedgedacht’s director and initiator of the POP programme
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POP centres can become the answer to help transform poverty in rural South Africa.

Goedgedacht runs a Path-Out-of-Poverty (POP) programme in the Cape, based on the premise that appropriate early intervention in education, health care, personal development and environmental awareness can lead to transformed rural communities. It has just opened a new facility in Paarl together with nurseryman and farmer Carl Pretorius of Just Trees.

Goedgedacht describes the new facility as a "starter" model and is using two repurposed shipping containers and a renovated farm-worker cottage to serve ten farms in the Paarl area, feeding, teaching and nurturing around 100 children and teens every day. This is done with just one youth worker drawn from the community, a cook and a part-time caretaker.

Goedgedacht’s director and initiator of the POP programme, Ingrid Lestrade, takes a very pragmatic view. "It would have cost us around R3,5 million if we'd gone the usual bricks-and-mortar route and there just isn't that kind time or  money available. The problems amongst children and youth in rural communities are so dire that we just have to scale up our programme to reach more children."

Goedgedacht Trust, based at Kasteelberg, near Malmesbury, receives funding from a range of donors, including the Distell Foundation and the Nederburg Auction Charity Auction.  

The Paarl POP centre is Goedgedacht's fourth. The original centre is based at the Goedgedacht farm itself, while POP centres have also been established in Riebeek-Kasteel and in Riebeek West.

"Next year will see POP establish new centres in Prince Albert, Porterville, five starter POPs in the Swartland and possibly one more in Piketberg.

As far as possible, POP centres are staffed by young people from the local community.

"Right now the total POP programme in some way touches the lives of 2 500 children from 18 different rural communities in the Western Cape," says Lestrade.



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This edition

Issue 68