Net vir Pret

Net vir Pret (Just for Fun) has become one of the major projects within the EDSA portfolio and we are very committed to its ongoing development and sustainability. Net vir Pret is delivering out of school and youth work based mainly in and around the Barrydale township (previously known as Smitsville) area in the Overberg, Western Cape. It also works in isolated Farm Schools and around the small farm labourer dwellings in the area. EDSA raised the funds for the initial embryonic After-school Club in 2003, on the initiative of Ann Harries Brown, EDSA founding Trustee, who became aware of the obvious need when she was visiting Barrydale. Net vir Pret now has its own headquarters in the centre of the township and has a small but dedicated team of children / youth workers including a sports development worker.  EDSA is proud to have funded this move into dedicated premises for Net vir Pret and is very keen to assist NvP to sustain and further develop its activities. The headquarter building has now been considerably extended with thanks to several individual donors as well as a huge fundraising push.  The new building is the largest int he township and is dedicated to children and young people.

We are proud that there is a wonderful children's room which has a daily after school care group led by team member Donna Kouter.  The children hae access to craft materials, toys, puzzles, books and under the careful and caring eye of Donna they thrive.  They have a snack/meal daily which is very important for some of them.

Net vir Pret has a well developed management committee and is a registered not for profit organisation which is well run, however it still finds that continued funding is hard to come by. NvP has an excellent fundraiser, Derek Joubert, with many years of experience however still struggles with cash flow issues. Its mission is to encourage self-esteem, confidence and a sense of responsibility among the children of rural fruit pickers in the Barrydale/Smitsville area of the Overberg, Western Cape.

The on-going effect of alcohol, drug misuse and decades of degrading racism has often been a devastating feature for the community and especially for the children and young people who live with the consequences of parental involvement. NvP is working hard with them as part of their commitment to reduce the possibility of petty crime, dependence on drugs and alcohol, and to combat the lack of ambition among these children of the new South Africa.

A recent project has targeted young people from the township who have not been in school, who have been causing problems within the community and who are either involved in or on the edge of crime.  A group called the Project Hope has been offering them support, things to do, places to go and giving them back a sense of their self esteem.  many of these children are particulrly impoverished and have few people who "look out" for them.  Some have successfully returned to school although they require daily support from NvP to help them to stay focused.  Others are really struggling with their behaviour, their sense of self, they seem very de-pressed and in need of in depth help.  NvP staff are doing their best to offer this together with a 3 month Dutch volunteer who has been very impressive in his committment to these sometimes difficult youngsters.  This is long term work and is ongoing.  Sometimes 2 steps forwards and then 3 backwards!!  NvP is not giving up on any of the children or youth from the township or the surrounding isoleated farmsteads. 

The aim of Net vir Pret has always been to provide creative and stimulating after-school activities which promote creativity, self-confidence and a sense of responsibility among marginalised rural coloured or mixed race young people.  It continues to offer:

The following activities are part of the NvP offer:

  • The NvP after-school club, where under experienced leadership, children can develop through learning how to make music, draw, paint, read, a wide variety of craft work, play with puzzles and construction/educational toys such as they will not have at home.
  • The use of creative and educational play (including sports provision) to encourage children and young people to have higher aspirations and to want to progress in their learning.
  • The training of high-school volunteers who assist the children in their creative activities and offer them new transferable skills.
  • The widening of the vision/horizons of these home-bound children by taking them outside their local rural area on leisure and educational trips to towns or the seaside.
  • The opportunity to learn from visiting artists and educators of different ethnic backgrounds including from Xhosa-speaking to extend experience and understanding.
  • The further development of several small toy libraries and play sessions so that the children can play with the same creative and educational toys that their more fortunate peers often take for granted.  Toys and books are rarely available in their homes.
  • The provision of regular projects in school holidays including a meal to ensure children are safe, secure and fed at these times whilst also being encouraged to participate in a range of creative activities with educational themes.
  • The support for young people about to take matriculation to consider their career and further education options and to help with matching young people to bursary options for ongoing education.
  • Overseas volunteers working alongside NvP staff to offer a wide variety of educational and creative projects as well as the chance for them to learn more about the work of NvP and to meet with the participants.

Queue for toy libraryQueue for toy library

Further information about NvP:

Stichting Projecten Zuid Afrika is a Dutch based ngo who have also been instrumental in supporting the work of NvP during the past 10 years.  EDSA is proud to be part of a strong partnership with SAF and other SA funders however it remains difficult to raise core funds for the small staff team and for the ongoing expenses of running a modern Children's and Youth Centre with education.

Net vir Pret has also established three toy libraries. The first in Smitsville has been running since 2004 and was an overnight success. Other toy libraries followed in two Farm Schools, also great successes but all are now in sore need of more toys and educational puzzles etc. The children from many of the other Farm Schools have little if any access to games, children's books or toys. Most of their families rely on seasonal fruit picking and packing for their income however some have been addicted to the wine with which they were once paid. Many of the generation of workers brought up during apartheid years have been demoralized by their abusive history and have little ambition to break out of their cycle of poverty and alcoholism. The children in these isolated rural areas are deprived in many ways and certainly lack anything to stimulate their imagination in the home. The toys our children take for granted are unknown to these children and can make a great difference to their life. Toy libraries based in the farm Schools could be an important resource to them and to their parents.

The UK based Toy Trust has made a grant to EDSA for NvP to develop toy boxes based on themes such as farms, ships and pirates, circuses, etc. This is wonderful and we are delighted to be able to begin this important provision; however, on going funding is urgently needed to keep the toy libraries functioning.

EDSA is urgently seeking further funding to develop the toy libraries and to sustain the after school and youth work. For an Annual Report on the activities of Net vir Pret please contact: EDSA Trustees, c/o 14 Riverside Road, Oxford OX2 0HU or tel. 01865 248 189 or email trustees@edsa.org.uk