Closer look at a project: Grootbos Foundation South Africa

Posted on Feb 28, 2020 7:46 AM by

One of the projects we supported recently with ICT material is Grootbos Foundation in South Africa. The Grootbos Foundation is a non-profit organisation, established in 2003 with the vision of conserving the Cape Floral Kingdom (a region in South-Africa) and uplifting the communities therein.

Grootbos Foundation's mission is to conserve the unique Cape Floral Kingdom, the region they call home; and to develop sustainable livelihoods through ecotourism, enterprise development, sports development and education. In 2019, Close the Gap supported this organisation with 46 computers.

"How wonderfully generous of you to donate 46 computers to the Grootbos Foundation projects - thank you! We are quite overwhelmed by your kindness and for organizing for the computers to be delivered as well. It is not often that a wishlist gets realised in real life, all at one time. Thank you for bridging the digital divide and making this happen, allowing our projects to run seamlessly and professionally with the help of computers." Phil Murray, Grootbos Foundation

The majority of the computers has been installed over the past few weeks and months and they have brought the thrill and potential of the world of information to the fingertips of those who have never had this opportunity before.

The computers are installed at

  • the Football Foundation programme
  • Heritage building school library and resource centre at Okkie Smuts Primary School
  • Growing the Future farming project
  • Conservation research centre
  • Green Future College
  • 5  computers for Zwelihle Youth Cafe
  • 5 computers for Olwethu Pedro's Media internet Cafe in Zwelihle
  • 10 micro-enterprises to be trained, interviewed and selected for micro-enterprise seed funding in 2020 through their Siyakhula Enterprise Development programme (these computers have not yet been distributed)

Five personal computers have been delivered to Petro's Media, a micro-enterprise owned by Olwethu Petro. 

Olwethu is the proud owner of not only an internet cafe but also of a photography studio in Zwelihle, Hermanus. His internet cafe burnt to the ground in 2018 and since the Grootbos Foundation Entrepreneurship Workshop and prior Close the Gap assistance, he has reopened his internet cafe from home with donated laptops. These PCs really enable him to grow his small business. With the assistance of the Entrepreneurship Programme seed funding grant, he equipped his photography studio located opposite the internet cafe and opened his doors mid-2019.  With the five PCs from Close the Gap, he plans to use four to free up his laptops for a chill-out area just outside the internet cafe. This will enable easier IT teaching and support for customers as well. One PC will be used in the photography studio for photo editing and administration.

Olwethu: "I am honoured by your support, Close the Gap. Bless you for this honour."

William Ntebe from Zwelihle Youth Cafe, RDP Centre also received five personal computers from Close the Gap. Community members need access to PCs for an endless variety of reasons, from basic IT literacy, compiling and emailing CVs, homework, internet research, networking, etc. The Youth Cafe is a tech/ networking/ employment and support hub for the people of Zwelihle.

William: "Our community is so grateful. Thank you, Close the Gap. Access to technology and information should be available to all, especially the youth."

One PC has been allocated to Ntomboxolo Ntsenga - she and her business partner pitched a business idea to open an Internet Cafe in Masakhane. They plan to start compiling and sending CVs for people, and providing basic IT support from their home while they look for a location from which to set up a more formal business. This will be a good trial to test their business plan.

Ntombi: "I can't believe this! Thank you, Close the Gap. You make me feel like a winner."

Twelve computers have been installed in the Green Futures College where vocational training in Indigenous Horticulture and Eco-Tourism & Hospitality are provided each year. Each curriculum is provided to twelve unemployed youths, most of whom have dropped out of the state schooling system. Each year sees 24 young people graduate with marketable skills, ready to be employed or to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. 

With the installation of personal computers from Close the Gap in the College classroom, this has released laptops which can now be used by the Football Foundation community sports coaches. Grootbos Foundation does not have any safe and secure facilities at their local school and community sports fields, so laptops suit the needs of their sports coaches. 

Two Close the Gap computers have been installed at the Growing the Future farm for research, emailing suppliers and developing the small enterprises that take place on this site.

Zimasa: "I have never had so much information at my fingertips. How do I choose just one idea to start?"


Are you also interested in receiving computers? Click here.

Would you like to donate your own equipment in order for projects such as this one to flourish? Click here.