While the FNB Wines2Whales has received recent acclaim for the Exxaro jersey prizes of Curro bursaries and STADIO higher education programmes, the race’s original education beneficiaries are the crèches along its route. Each year the event makes significant donations to the FNB Wines2Whales Crèche Initiative, the Botrivier Educational Trust, the De Rust Futura School and aids in the fundraising projects of the Anna Foundation and the Pebbles Project.
Since 2008, the FNB Wines2Whales has been aiding the preschools of Botrivier, and later the crèche on Thandi which serves the Lebanon Village. In communities where poverty levels are high, most of the schools were in dire need of simple educational toys, adequate ablution facilities and kitchens when Caron Douglas proposed the FNB Wines2Whales Botrivier Crèche Initiative to the event organisers.
“The whole idea was to give the contents of my school to a crèche” Douglas explained, of how she envisioned donating the equipment from the preschool which she had run from 1984 to 2007. “But I soon realised who was I going to give it to? Everybody has got needs and there is so much poverty! Choosing just one beneficiary from the host of worthy organisations was an impossible task.”
It was this realisation which drove the foundation of the FNB Wines2Whales Crèche Initiative which started by aiding 5 crèches in Botrivier. Currently the programme has expanded to provide support for 7 preschools in the village at the foot of Kat Pas as well as a school on Thandi Wine Estate. The scholars from Thandi Community Crèche then graduate to the De Rust Futura School, another FNB Wines2Whales beneficiary. The children from the creches and the school now play a pivotal role in the race too, by cheering the tired riders on as they undertake the final stage through Botrivier towards Onrus. The Botrivier Marimba Band will join in the cheering too, as they play their Cape classics in a unique marimba style.
“Here at Thandi Community Creche we take kids from the ages of three months to five years old. The first kids that we had here are now in Grade 11 and I have been following their journey. I am really happy to see how well they’re doing at school. Hopefully they continue and become good people in life with great jobs!” Elisabeth Van Wyk, enthused. “There’s one little girl, Amy; she always loved singing and now she is in the marimba band and it’s fantastic to see her so happy and having fun.”
In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the FNB Wines2Whales raised R100 000 for the creches through the FNB Wines2Whales #Gees4Good challenge and in 2021, FNB donated an additional R30 000 to the FNB Wines2Whales Botrivier Crèche Initiative. “FNB Wines2Whales not only donates directly to the FNB W2W Crèche Initiative, but also links the schools with organisations like FNB and Big Box Containers,” said Michael Flinn, FNB Wines2Whales Managing Director. “We believe in strong communities and that education is also vitally important, especially in areas where poverty levels are high. We identified this initiative and are proud to support through our donations and working with our partners, old and new, to make a material difference to the lives of the children who pass through the crèches and schools.”
“Big Box shares our vision for the community of Botrivier and has been instrumental in aiding the Botrivier Crèche Initiative,” Flinn continued. “They donated a storage container, which we were able to help Caron [Douglas] fill with all the things the crèches may need. Beaumont Family Wines, on the outskirts of Botrivier then graciously agreed to host the Big Box container. The teachers can now go check toys or books out of the container as they need them, thus making it possible to share a smaller number of items across all the preschools in the initiative.”
“At Big Box Containers, we believe it is possible to do well in our business, while also doing good in our communities,” Willie Ward, Director of Big Box Containers, emphasised. “For us, our biggest resource is our people and the communities around us. Big Box is proud to be one of the FNB W2W sponsors making this initiative possible. The 12-metre container we donated contributes to the event’s vision – that through this initiative, with the support of the races’ sponsors and riders – to make sustainable and meaningful differences in the lives of the people in the communities along the FNB W2W route.”
“I would like to encourage anyone who has taken part in the FNB W2W, or who shares our passion for building communities, to join us in our efforts by making a donation to the Botrivier Crèche Initiative” Douglas added. “While monetary donations are of course helpful, items like cots, books and toys are also very valuable. As are donations of time, especially by social workers, psychologists as well as by speech and occupational therapists.”
“All the things we take for granted are things the children in these crèches don’t get to experience” Douglas pointed out, with a tear in her eye. “I would love to take them over the mountain, to the Somerset Mall, to watch a movie.”
If you can help make that a reality, or aid the FNB Wines2Whales Crèche Initiative in any way please get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tag(s): FNB Wines2Whales