Andi Norton, Cape Wine Auction Trust and Beneficiary Facilitator, says the super-wealthy suffer donor fatigue when they don’t see a return on their social investment. And the need has never been greater to alleviate poverty.
The mandate of the Trust is to support education in the Winelands, which is not only a set geographical area, but has its own challenges that include an enormous dropout rate, prevalence of foetal-alcohol syndrome and historical/political labour-owner issues. The proceeds of the auction, without offset or deduction, go to the 22 beneficiaries actively involved in the Winelands offering education, meals, after care, counselling services, career placements and training.
They are the Pebbles Project; The Click Foundation; Community Keepers; Maranatha Trust; Pinotage Youth Development Academy; Wine Training South Africa; The Kusasa Project; Hope through Action Foundation: Score @ Franschhoek and Mbekweni; Hope through Action: Nompumelelo Educare Centre; Aitsa! After Care Centres; Eduvate; Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde Education Project; International Wine Education Centre; Love 2 Give Skills Academy; The Lunchbox Fund; Partners for Possibility; South African Sommeliers Association and Anna Foundation.
“Our education-giving model encourages beneficiaries to collaborate, share expertise and work together and we’re aiming to create a similar platform for donors,” says Norton. “I realised, working with a lot of the stakeholders, that it is as simple as communication and collaboration.”
After conducting extensive research on foreign education-giving models and getting input from local companies, the Trust decided to follow the guidelines of South Africa’s National Development Plan which outlines education goals from cradle to career and highlights the need for funding in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and the foundation phase (grade 1-7).
Beneficiaries are selected based on their proven ability to help overcome barriers to education in the area, for example, hunger (Lunchbox Fund); psycho-social problems (Community Keepers); lack of access to technology (Click Foundation); no transport as well as vision and hearing challenges. “It made sense to work with the Department of Education and assist them in supporting schools in the Winelands that were doing reasonably well but that with support and intervention could go from good to great,” says Norton.
These include Wemmershoek Primary near Franschhoek, Constantia Primary in Constantia and De Rust Futura Akademie in Elgin and, more recently, the independent Spark Lynedoch School at The Sustainability Institute. The latter was a project driven by the Sustainability Institute’s desire to find an innovative solution to keep a school in Lynedoch, when Lynedoch Primary was under threat of closure following a proposed merger with two other schools.
The Sustainability Institute said they found in Spark Schools “the perfect partner — a passionate team of educators committed to transforming the education system through the highest quality of education, at below government cost to educate... The real story here is one of transformation, and opportunity. The vision and intention is that every learner that comes through Spark Lynedoch will graduate as a globally active citizen — with a clear sense of where they have come from and the potential to go anywhere."
Auction director Darielle Robertson says they believe that their guests return every year not only for the auction experience but “because they know that they are supporting an initiative that is making a real difference in breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering children with education.”
One thing people are bound to ask is how can the Cape Wine Auction Trust make a difference? “We can’t be all things to all people,” says Norton, “but we know what works is to have a more targeted approach. We’re investing a lot in ECD and the foundation phase but one area where we’d really like to make an impact is with the grade 3 milestone where children switch from learning to read to reading to learn.”
Proceeds from the Cape Wine Auction Trust also go to teachers who may require trauma counselling and principals who often need additional management training.