“Without donations like that received from South African Breweries and British American Tobacco, our students, most of them young women and unemployed, would not be able to complete any kind of training, because of the costs involved.”

These are the words of Ms Renske Minnaar, CEO of Bergzicht Training and Development, a non-govermental organisation (NGO) based in the Winelands that helps poor, semi-skilled as well as unemployed persons in the Western Cape to improve their lives by equipping them with practical skills through courses in self-empowerment, Educare, Health and Frail Care, and Professional Cooking as well as workshops in Entrepreneurship, Life Skills and basic computer training. Since 1992, Bergzicht has trained more than 10 000 students of which 76% found permanent employment throught its Placement Bureau.

“Thanks to the R73 000 donation from BATSA, we will be able to train 12 beneficiaries through our six-week Self-Empowering Foundation course. Once these beneficiaries have completed that course, they will proceed to one of our advanced courses and upon qualifying, we can place them in permanent employment through our in-house Placement Bureau,” explains Minnaar.

The R68 000 received from SAB, she says, will help them obtain essential learning materials for all their courses.

“Our aim at Bergzicht Training and Development is to break the cycle of poverty by helping individuals empower themselves and change their own lives. In that way, they can also make an impact on the lives of their families and even communities. Large corporates like SAB and BATSA and many others who make donations to Bergzicht each year make it possible for us to live up to that vision. ”

Minnaar, along with her team, is the driving force behind this vision and has first-hand witnessed the profound effect that skills development training has had on the lives of young women and men who walk through Bergzicht’s doors.

“Bergzicht has been in existence for 24 years, so there are many success stories to share, from beneficiaries who started off as cooks and now work as assistant chefs at some of the top restaurants at wine estates in the Boland region, to those who have started their own day care facilities or have found employment again after being unemployed for some time.”

There is for instance Thabisa Gwatyu from Kayamandi who had been unemployed for more than a year before hearing about Bergzicht Training and Development from a neighbour. Gwatyu now works as a cook at the restaurant at Hartenberg Wine Estate. Then there is Sharon Carolus, currently an assistant cook at a Fedics-managed restaurant at Santam in Tygervalley, who fell pregnant at 16 and remained unemployed for more than a decade before she registered for a course at Bergzicht.

“All these beneficiares were able to study for free because of sponsorships we received. Their stories tell the real-life impact that our donors are helping us to make each and every day.”

Ms Lanaine Abrahams (back row, third from the left) from BATSA recently handed over a R73 000 cheque to fund 12 beneficiaries through Bergzicht Training and Development’s Self-Empowering Foundation course. With Abrahams are some of Bergzicht’s current Self-Empowering course students as well as staff – Mr Howard Bergins, Manager: Placement Bureau (far left in the front row); Ms Catherine-Ann Carolus, Facilitator of the Self-Empowering course (second from the right in the second row); and Ms Renske Minnaar, CEO of Bergzicht (next to Carolus).

Mr Rowan Dunne, Corporate Affairs Specialist from SAB (far left in the front row) and Ms Zukiswa Gaqavu, the Corporate Affairs Manager (Cape Region) at SAB (far right in the front row), handed over a cheque of R68 000 to Bergzicht Training and Development for the sponsorship of learning materials for Bergzicht’s courses. With them are some of the current Educare programme students enrolled at Bergzicht.

Issued by: Ms Lynne Rippenaar-Moses Wrap it Up PR & Communication Strategy

Telephone: 073 534 5560
E-mail: Lynne@wrapstrat.co.za

On behalf of: Ms Renske Minnaar, CEO Bergzicht Training and Development

Telephone: 021 883 3525 / 082 570 6984
E-mail: renske@bergzicht.org.za