There is nothing more encouraging to me than meeting and connecting with people around the world who are dedicated to improving the lives of others. That’s why I am so excited to share this week’s Service Spotlight.
Sanelise Dasoyi is the Projects Coordinator for Sustainable Coffee Bay, based in Coffee Bay wild Coast South Africa.
Their passionate and sincere dedication to making their community a better place is nothing short of inspiring. Without further ado, allow me to introduce Sanelise and the Sustainable Coffee Bay.
Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a “Happiness is.”
Sanelise: Happiness is the sound of children’s laughter and finally finding a donor for a new campaign
Liz: Tell me about Sustainable Coffee Bay.
Sanelise: Sustainable Coffee Bay is a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation. We work with the communities of the greater Coffee Bay area in South Africa to improve their lives through education and other community initiatives.
Our work is divided into three focus areas: Early Childhood Development, Education and Youth Development, and Rural Assistance.
It is our mission to increase access to, and quality of education, skills and employment by working with our community on projects that create higher expectations and improve lives. We strive to inspire others by being role models of excellence.
Early Childhood Development
The purpose of our Early Childhood Development is to offer an integrated approach covering the first 6 years of life with nutritional support, support for primary caregivers, social services and stimulation for early learning education.
We manage and operate a pre-school “Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori” (ILM). The school functions as a model of excellence in our rural area. 60 children attend the school, which has a waiting list. They get two nutritious meals each day and receive de-worming twice yearly.
Access to quality integrated Early Childhood Development is a game changer in this area. It leads to better results at primary level, makes parents more involved in their child’s learning and provides the children with nutritious meals that help their development.
Education and Youth Development
Our work supports local youth to complete quality education, setting them up for a successful career and the ability to provide for themselves and their families. The approach helps create role models for the other youth of Coffee Bay and highlights the importance of education.
Our work includes:
Supporting current and former students with university/job applications;
Ensuring children are registered socially and are healthy
Motivating for drivers’ licenses to increase employability
Providing work experience opportunities
We are able to offer high quality educational tracks by partnering with St. John’s College for our high school scholarship programme, and with the South African College of Tourism and Tracker Academy for bursaries targeting further studies.
Services that are quite ordinary in urban areas are often riddled with obstacles, making it difficult to gain access. By maintaining good working relations with the appropriate institutions, we help the Coffee Bay community to navigate the bureaucracy.
The broader aim of our work in this area is to engage the community to know and stand up for their rights and overcome the difficulties of living in a remote and underdeveloped area.
Accessing basic services in a rural area can be surprisingly challenging, with little to no services in our area. Community members have come to us over the years for assistance with typing CVs, emailing job applications, accessing their pension funds and more. We aim to bridge the information gap faced by many rural communities
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Sanelise: Inspiring excellence in rural areas and poverty eradication.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Sanelise: For us, service means restoring hope where there is no hope, laying a good foundation for education. Service to us means fighting for human rights and restoring dignity for those who can’t do it for themselves as well as giving a rural child a good education and showing them that their dreams are valid and possible.
Liz: How can people get involved?
Liz: Lastly, do you have a favorite quote to leave us with?
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”