Looking at the photographs of children who have benefited through the Cape Wine Auction Trust, it’s easy to imagine how quickly one could be persuaded to dig deep and donate. Through the ages, savvy fundraisers of all persuasions have used emotion to garner sympathy and subsequent patronage but now the “landscape of giving back has changed”.

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.

What to expect at the auction February 10-11

With the next auction taking place on 10 February at La Motte Wine Estate and on 11 February at Anthonij Rupert Wyne Estate, the organisers are hoping to raise the bar. “If we can get R15-million this time, we’d be delighted,” says Norton.

Tickets cost R1850 per person for access to the Friday evening Barrel Auction, and R5000 per person for both the Friday and Saturday events. Sponsored by American Express the Barrel Auction lures wine collectors to bid on and taste directly from the barrels once-off, specially curated and limited-release wines.

The Nedbank Private Wealth Auction takes place over Saturday lunch where local and international personalities bid for 35 lots. This year, one lot is an all-inclusive seven-night stay for four on the Azura Benguerra Island, off Mozambique. This includes helicopter transfers as well as 15 cases of wine from Château Pas de Loup in France’s Loire Valley.

Guests can also bid to win a two night, all-inclusive stay for six guests with Christo Wiese at his exclusive and private game lodge in the Kalahari. This lot includes a private tasting at his Lourensford Wine Estate and 24 bottles of wine.

There are also rare wines on offer with the first and only Melchior (an 18-litre bottle) Morgenster Reserve 2010 included in a four-day stay at Morgenster, inclusive of airfares and transfers; dinner with owner Giulio Bertrand in the Manor House; tutored olive and olive oil tastings as well as private cellar tours.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit capewineauction.co.za

Children at the Pebbles Project
Children at the Pebbles Project

The soul of Kwandwe

The Eastern Cape remains one of the least developed provinces in South Africa, with high unemployment and social challenges in many areas. The outlying communities are some of the poorest in the country, with recent statistics revealing that 32% of rural households survive on R200 or less per month.

Since 2002, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve’s Ubunye Foundation has focused energy and resources on the communities living on and around the reserve. It is an independent, non-profit, charitable trust that currently invests in the development of nine rural communities, two of which are located in the Kwandwe reserve. The Foundation focuses on facilitating an asset-based approach to development in which community participation holds the key to lasting change.

An agri-village has been developed on donated land and adult-based education and training is provided at the reserve’s computer centre. More than 60 staff members have been through an accredited leadership programme. A formal primary school has also been built near the eastern boundary.

It’s all about harnessing people’s potential rather than focusing on what they lack.

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