Gordons Bay Education Centre & Charity HQ Building Project Blog

Courtesy of corporate sponsorship and a record-breaking Minecraft livestream fundraising event, SOS Africa has recently purchased land and buildings in Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape. Over the coming months, these buildings and land will undergo a complete transformation into a new education centre and charity headquarters ready to launch in 2022. The team have created this blog so that you can follow us every step of the way…

Coming to Gordon's Bay in 2022...

Right from the very first design meeting between architects Byron, Claudia and Leon, it was agreed that the renovation process should make the building fit for long-term sustainable use. On a property which consisted of a mismatch of extensions and alterations, they needed to ensure that the entire renovation would amalgamate the building with consistent circulation between levels and zones.

GB Blog - Dec 2021 Update.jpg

Whilst standing on the balcony assessing the aged asbestos roof, they knew its days were numbered. And herewith came their eureka moment… “If we are going to have to take off the roof, why not build up?” Since that moment, like a good game of Tetris, all the blocks fitted. For weeks they continued to develop and tweak the initial concepts until they had a final design which fulfilled the brief (see above, Claudia’s Artist’s Impression).

GB Blog - Dec 2021 Update 2.jpg

Now all they must do is convince 15 neighbours, town planning, city planning, transport affairs, fire marshals, appoint an engineer and find the right builder for the job. A wise man once said that “bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible,” but thanks to our dedicated architects and a neighbourhood which has really embraced their vision, they hope to have the relevant permissions to enable them to commence building from mid-2022.

In the meantime, from January 2022 we are all very excited to welcome the first beneficiaries of our Gordon’s Bay Education House, 5 very deserving children from Sir Lowry’s Pass Village Community. Provided that we operate with a maximum of 6 children and 3 staff at the property at any one time, in addition to providing these children with holistic after-school care, the house will also host counselling sessions, gardening and swimming lessons for other SOS kids, and office spaces for the charity’s admin team.

GB Blog - Dec 2021 Update 3.jpg

We cannot wait to see this exciting design materialise over the next 12 months, so that this exciting new facility can provide holistic education and care for generations of SOS Africa children. We will be sure to keep you updated along the way and provide more specific detail on the design once the plans have been approved.

In the meantime, we would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

Edible Garden Preparations: July 2021

The Garden preparation is well underway as we eagerly await the arrival of Spring!

GB Blog - Compost 1.jpg

We have set up our own ‘composting station’ which is made up of four bays. There will be a rotation system of areas for new kitchen waste, garden waste and then some parts completely set aside to decompose. It’s a beautiful and fine art making rich nourishing soils for our vegetables. Our greatest help with this decomposing process will come from some lovely worms (still yet to arrive!)

GB Blog - Raised Beds 1.jpg

Next up we made TEN raised beds, maximising every inch of space the garden offers us. We were fortunate enough to even have some very willing helpers who really enjoyed drilling the planks together. Before fitting them into place and levelling them off we treated the wood with an eco paint. We certainly don’t want any nasty chemicals seeping into our delicious produce.

GB Blog - Raised Beds 2.jpg

Finally and perhaps most importantly WE NEED WATER! Justin and Patrick from Project Pumps set us up with an incredible rainwater harvesting, backwash tank and irrigation system. Not a drop of water will be wasted.

GB Blog - Irrigation 1.jpg

We are so excited to fill these beds up with lovely soil and yummy vegetables...

Edible Garden Research Trip - 7th July 2021

SOS Africa Children Edible Garden Research Trip

We decided that it was essential to involve the children in as many different development stages of our Gordon's Bay Education Centre Building Project as possible... The edible garden being the very first! So, in preparation, our gardener Enock and a few keen SOS Africa children visited Food Forest Farm to learn from an expert, Farmer Hannes.

SOS Africa Children Edible Garden Research Trip

The children were captivated by the experience and enjoyed taking part in some day to day activities on the farm. One of the most important lessons Hannes taught us was soil health, explaining the intricacies of soil microbes and adding organic nutrients when planting. Finally we moved onto the most vital and fascinating element, making your own compost. Each child had a go with shredding vegetables and meeting the worms who are instrumental in breaking down all the organic matter. In just a few hours they learnt so much about the entire process and quickly began making requests for our new garden and 'composting station'.

SOS Africa Children Edible Garden Research Trip

It is our intention to involve the SOS children in every stage in the garden from the sowing of our first seedlings right through to the moment the fresh fruit and veg are harvested and prepared in the SOS Africa kitchen! Ultimately, learning from these processes will empower them with knowledge about health and nutrition for plants, their bodies, their environment and maybe even their own edible gardens one day.

SOS Africa Children Edible Garden Research Trip

We would like to say a huge thank you to Farmer Hannes from Food Forest Farm for being such a great host and for sharing his invaluable farming knowledge and experience with us all.

We hope we make him proud!

*To any locals in the Cape we highly recommend you order your delicious organic fruit and vegetable from Hannes!

Project Background

SOS Africa Gordon's Bay Education Centre and Charity HQ Building Project

This exciting and ambitious project all began late last year when we received an incredibly generous donation from a corporate sponsor. At the time, we were looking to expand our scope of support beyond our existing education centres and establish a regional headquarters in a central location to oversee all our Western Cape projects. Before long, the ideal site had been identified and purchased.

SOS Africa Charity's Western Cape Education Programmes, South Africa

Though the location was ideal and the property with its 1400m2 of land had huge potential, we were aware that significant investment would be required to transform it into a fully functional education centre and charity headquarters. Cue the amazing Hermitcraft community…

Hermitcraft Livestream Fundraising Event for SOS Africa

A year on from a ground-breaking livestream event which funded hundreds of thousands of meals for disadvantaged communities in South Africa, Minecraft celebrities Rendog and Grian returned with Scar and Bdubs to host a repeat event to raise funds for this life-changing facility. After a unforgettable 4 hour livestream marathon, watched by hundreds of thousands of Hermitcraft followers worldwide, 5000 generous donors raised £100,000 for this renovation project. A further £12,000 raised for SOS Africa's COVID-19 Emergency Food Relief Fund.

The holistic education programmes facilitated by SOS Africa's Gordon's Bay Education Centre

With this formidable fundraising effort completed, it is now over to our design team and building crews to turn this exciting vision into a reality. This will be built to a high sustainable and environmental standard and when completed, will facilitate:

  1. A catering kitchen to provide 1000 weekly meals
  2. New classrooms and tutor rooms for high school and adult learning
  3. An edible garden to provide healthy nourishment
  4. 4 additional learning spaces
  5. Accommodation for children in need of respite 

We cannot wait to get started and share updates with you along the way...