Dreamcatcher has various categories of DC Kids projects each requiring different activities and needs. All our projects are with children and youth at risk, living in poverty. Many depend on themselves or parents who struggle, for survival in dire socioeconomic circumstances. Many have single parents or grandparents raising them. Unemployment is high and particularly school leaving youth find it hard to find work. Many children suffer emotional, psychological and physical abuse, developmental barriers through lack of access to fresh fruit, a chance to play sport, the kit for sport, fresh fruit, a sustaining meal on a regular basis. A significant number of the children lack an enabling family structure and suffer hardship as a result of alcohol -and substance abusive parents. 99%the Dreamcatcher Kids, as they are known, do not have an own room or space to study or play and live in cramped over crowded conditions. Some children are HIV/Aids positive by birth, physically or mentally challenged and many fend for themselves at various times in their young lives . It is thus important to note that more children are in care and in projects we develop and support who are “orphaned” by abandonment and abuse by living, rather than the passing of parents.
Life is interconnected in the communities and little happens in isolation as would in the developed world. Rather much of life as it evolves on a daily basis, good, bad and problematic, impacting upon -and defining the quality of life for the next generation. Our approach and philosophy is thus holistic in nature taking the whole community into account and involves hands-on and not arms length development to assist the children to look to a future they are actively involved in creating for themselves. The children living in these communities are the leaders of tomorrow. Those who will define the quality of future life in communities across South Africa.
The ethos of Dreamcatcher is that we do not only develop the Kamamma and Bhuti. Each Kamamma and Bhuti we assist to grow their tourism business, life skill and knowledge base, is expected by Dreamcatcher to be actively involved in taking good care of in the rearing of their own children and grand—children but most importantly to actively support other projects in their communities. They must give back and build down to earth. To this end Dreamcatcher thus endeavours to find resources and volunteers to assist the Kamammas and Bhutis to make a practical difference in their own communities.
Since community life is dynamic, our team is flexible to adapt to meet any changing needs or circumstances as they occur.
1. Community Leaders of Tomorrow
This includes creating and awareness of and transferring knowledge the health and environmental impacts of waste where they live, conserving energy and water as well as the importance to take pride preserving their natural environment. These mentoring and skills transfer projects are geared to envision sustaining their heritage and environment, giving hope, developing confidence, self-pride – and awareness. Our goal is to stimulate a vision to look and aspire beyond the glass ceiling towards developing the Dreamcatcher Kids and their peers in the community to become strong and accountable adults: the community leaders of the future.
We develop activities towards building strength to survive as a community of children together instead of building an individual to survive without regard for their peers. Volunteers are recruited to assist as well. Part of this project is to eliminate barriers to development and thus includes ensuring the children and youth have access to fresh fruit, vegetables, building skills to ensure personal hygiene and health, gardening and entrepreneurial skills to consider self-employment in the absence of work opportunities and more. Specific activities in this project are:
- Environmental awareness and sustainability or natural heritage. These projects include learning to identify indigenous flora, fauna and marine specie. Waste management and re-use of waste as a resource
- Developing a vegetable -and herb garden
- Identification of bird specie and developing a bird atlas of the birds in their community
Aleid Schipper and Hank Beermann volunteered as a couple and assisted the children to develop and grow through education and contributed to eliminate barriers to achieving these goals for the children. Read about Aleid and Hank’s Leaders of tomorrow project.
2. Training and Lifeskills projects
About 95% of our DC Kids were born after ‘Apartheid’ was dismantled, yet for most of them their daily lives and circumstances have not changed. We thus develop and initiate specific projects and activities to build specific life skills or facilitate training where the children have a specific problem, lack of resources or opportunity for learning. We recruit volunteers with skills and caring to assist us on these projects, by way of mentoring, skills transfer such as computer and coping skills, crafting and we also facilitate research or intern projects for universities which could provide practical experience for the student but which concentrate on researching and addressing the barriers to development in a solution focused way and provide sustainable solutions. We then actively address these solutions in an outcomes based manner. Many visitors and volunteers transfer new skills to the children and youth.
We endeavour to encourage an acumen of productivity and accountability to learn and motivation to advance to the next level at school. We have projects where children are assisted to do school work or homework in the safe environment of our Home Office or the lounge of one of our Kamammas. Many children have low self-esteem, which affects their scholastic advance, and to endeavour to cope and excel in spite of the disadvantages or hardship they live in. Some of our projects involve mentoring parents as well in order that we can ensure a better chance for the children.
Specific activities in this project are:
- Catering skills
- Assistance with school homework, tasks and completion, research methodology
- Health, safety and hygiene
- Remedial help in terms of literacy and numeracy
- Sourcing school resources and learning aids for the children to use on the projects and at school (files, pencils, books etc.)
3. Community Projects in Need
We support over 80 projects working with children and youth run by NGO;s, schools, our own Kamammas and Bhutis,in towns and communities across South Africa. Dreamcatcher runs some projects ourselves. We generate support and funds through volunteer and tourist donations, fund raising by our Dutch partners and Foundation as well as individual donations and corporate contributions. Support ranges from funding for specific needs, or a situation (like school resources not provided to the children, but deemed important for their advance), recruiting volunteers to assist to alleviate the workload, skills transfer and general support. Many of the projects are community run crèche’s or pre-school, or children and youth with physically and mentally challenges: either through birth or neglect, some are HIV/Aids positive through birth. We have a special project to ensure that children have access to fresh fruit, vegetables, food supplements, nappies, and gloves for carers working with HIV/AIDS positive children.
Specific activities in this project are:
- Procuring resources and much needed medical supplies
- Procuring equipment to address a specific need (i.e. Wheelchair)
- Sourcing food supplies and supplements to assure a healthy and balanced diet
4. Give a child a sporting chance
Dreamcatcher works with the children on our projects to support them to have access to appropriate kit and resources to practice or participate in sport.
Sport involving the control and play with a ball in a team, is found to be the most beneficial to the children, as it teaches discipline, development of a team spirit appropriate and working partnerships, eye-hand -and foot co-ordination and is a healthy way to channel energy. Assisting the children to access equipment enabling them participate and try their hand at the specific local preference such as football, netball, cricket, has lead to encouraging results and healthy after-school activity.
Dreamcatcher currently sponsors a football team in Stutterheim, Eastern Cape Province who have evolved to playing in the local town and regional league. The team were actively involved in developing their own team logo and team colours which enabled the Foundation, with the assistance of a volunteer from the United Kingdom, to produce their team shirts which they proudly wear on match days. Through the support of Karin Bloemen, our Dutch Dreamcatcher Ambassador and her close association with the Ajax football team in The Netherlands, it was possible to find the donation of an entire kit for their all important pre-match preparation sessions, further encouraging continued team practice attendance and pride.
This year we embarked on a programme to assist the Dreamcatcher Kids in Stilbaai in terms of formally recognised sports such as Netball, Basket ball, cricket and football and working towards assisting a team in the Wine lands region and working with our Kamammas in Qua Qua, Free State Province, to encourage and inspire the youth in their town to increase their interest in gainful football and other team sports.
Various games to stimulate interest, to hone skills and strategy development, are put at the disposal of the Dreamcatcher Kids in Melkhoutfontein, Stilbaai. Various volunteers with special sporting interest are encouraged to play with –and coach the children. To facilitate the development of a common camaraderie and to facilitate physical and mental exercise, all children on our projects are engaged and encouraged to participate in sporting activities at any level they can cope with ,as it provides release of stress and escape from their circumstances. Donations of sport equipment and kit are welcomed.
Specific activities in this project are:
- Finding coaches and mentors
- Procuring and sourcing sports kit and equipment
- Specific physical activity encouragement
- Encouraging group sport and sportsmanship