The projects we support are all based in Grabouw, a small town in the rural areas of Cape Winelands in the Western Province of South Africa.
Approximately 30.000 people live in the town, which is situated around 70 km from Cape Town and 45 km from Stellenbosch town Centre.
The population is significantly influenced by the dependence of the local economy on agriculture and manufacturing, especially the deciduous fruit and wine industry. The work is mostly seasonal which means that many families are without an income for more than half of the year, which, combined with a low salary, results in a high poverty rate in the area.
As a result many people live in very bad conditions with limited access to basic necessities such as running water, electricity, functioning sanitation, quality education and health care.
The increase in population in recent years has not matched economic growth. Low economic growth rates combined with a lack of economic diversity and the seasonal nature of the economy has lead to high rates of unemployment.
There is also an acute housing shortage in the Grabouw area, contributing to the growing numbers of informal settlements on the outskirts of town.
Currently, approximately 3500 additional houses are required to accommodate the current population.
High unemployment, low income-rates and a lack of high school education combine to aggravate the social problems in the area. Some of the most dominant problems are sexual and domestic violence as well as alcohol and drug abuse. HIV/AIDS infections and the tuberculosis prevalence are also very high in Grabouw, particularly in the informal settlements.