Bergzicht Training and Development celebrated its 25th birthday on Monday, 6 March, and was fortunate to have co-founder, Cecile Kotze, as well as the new Chairman of their Board, Mr Nathan Motjuwadi, and more than 90 current students at the celebrations.

During the celebration, Kotze encouraged the students to make use of the opportunities offered to them at Bergzicht Training and Development and to see these opportunities as a stepping stone to reaching greater things in their own lives.

“Our students have gone on to do great things, some of them are even working overseas today,” she said.

After witnessing the inability of many social development programmes in South Africa to effectively break the cycle of poverty in disadvantaged communities, Cecile Kotzé and Minnie van der Merwe, along with the support of some volunteers, started offering the first skills development programmes in Home Management, Frail Care, Edu Care and Cater Care as well as a literacy course through Bergzicht Training and Development. Today the organisation still focuses on offering skills to poor, unemployed, unskilled and semi-skilled individuals from communities in the Western Cape through its entry-level iPOWER (Self-Empowering) Foundation Programme, as well as its advanced programmes – the HWSETA accredited Health and Frail Care, Edu Care and City & Guilds’ accredited Professional Cooking programmes.

“If you want to become successful in life, you have to stay focused on your dreams, but at the same time also study hard,” said Motjuwadi as he addressed the students and staff at Bergzicht Training and Development.

“To Renske and her team, congratulations on the great job you are all doing to continue serving communities in need in the Western Cape. And finally, I want to congratulate Cecile Kotzé for having the vision 25 years ago to launch this organisation.”

Students and staff were treated to cake and cupcakes in honour of this milestone. The cupcakes were partially sponsored by Pick n Pay Stellenbosch.

“It’s quite a feat for any NGO to reach 25 years. We have worked hard, even in the trying times, when we were forced to close our doors for a few months in 2013 and return to the drawing board to envision a new path that would help us become more sustainable in the long term. Today, we can see that that strategy and plan reaped real benefits for us and did not only help us to weather the storm, but turned us into a formidable organisation that is always planning ahead for future needs and expectations from our students and supporters,” added Renske Minnaar, CEO of Bergzicht Training and Development.

The birthday celebrations was made even more special with an announcement by Minnaar that an international grant, which will be paid out over a period of three years, from a Norwegian foundation in support of Bergzicht’s Training work had been deposited into the NGO’s bank account on the day.

“Now isn’t that an amazing birthday present!”she said.

Visit Bergzicht Training and Development’s Facebook page to see all the fun that was had at their birthday celebration recently.

Photo at the top: What is a 25th birthday without a delicious cake! Students (in the front row from the left) Nomalizo Mapoma (iPOWER (Self-Empowering) Foundation Programme), Lee-Anne Aruna (Edu Care Programme), Gaynor Skippers (Edu Care Programme) and Fezeka Belebsi (iPOWER (Self-Empowering) Foundation Programme) celebrated Bergzicht Training and Development’s 25th anniversary with co-founder Cecile Kotzé (second from the right in the front row). In the back CEO Renske Minnaar and Nathan Motjuwadi, the Chairman of Bergzicht Training and Development’s Board, join in on the festivities on Bergzicht Training and Development’s birthday on 6 March this year.