Three of our students at the Grootbos Green Futures Foundation College will embark on the adventure of a life time at the end of March when they board a plane for the very first time to participate in experiential training at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, thanks to the support of the British High Commission. The Grootbos Foundation has a long standing connection with the Eden Project (www.edenproject.com). Grootbos’ acclaimed botanist and Director, Sean Privett, worked at Eden to establish their Mediterranean biome, and we have enjoyed a working relationship ever since. We share the ethos of protecting the amazing diversity and value of plants to humanity, the importance of conserving our natural heritage and showcasing our dependence on nature. This message is strongly reinforced to our Green Futures students through their exchange visit to Eden each year. Over the last thirteen years, since the inception of the Green Futures College, we have managed to send students on exchange to Eden on ten separate occasions. Eden has provided the annual three week experiential training opportunity and accommodation on site in Cornwall. Eden and Grootbos have also developed a partnership whereby Eden staff members visit the Green Futures College, situated on the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, to learn and experience the Cape Floral Kingdom - the smallest yet most diverse of the world’s floral kingdoms. The role that Eden and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office plays in supporting the Grootbos Foundation and the development of previously disadvantaged individuals from South Africa, showcases how the UK can support South African non-profit organisations in social development projects.
Our countries have strong ties in tourism and environmental research, and this has been evident in our continued relationship with Eden and their support and commitment to our research and educational programmes.
Background: Green Futures College
The Grootbos Foundation’s Green Futures College - esta-blished in 2003 - provides educational skills training to 10 unemployed young adults each year teaching them to market themselves and become employable, while at the same time contributing to the conservation and promotion of our region’s unique biodiversity. The fully accredited (AGRISeta) course combines essential life skills like personal finance, business skills, computers, driving and health education with knowledge of environmental and conservation issues, and skills of indigenous horticulture and landscaping. On completion of their course, the students are awarded a nationally (SETA) accredited certificate in horticulture and are assisted in work placement. Over 110 young people have already graduated, and more than 90% of graduates have found employment on completion of the course.
Karin Blumer: Communications Manager Grootbos Foundation