Last month, Stellenbosch-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Bergzicht Training & Development celebrated their 30th birthday.
Among key role players, its founding member, Cecile Kotzé, and long term funders were honoured in style and entertained with humour.
Reflecting on overcoming a number of challenges, staff, friends and beneficiaries gathered to rejoice over the success of empowering more than 12 000 individuals with skills and job opportunities.
“I am deeply moved by the continued commitment and very grateful for the outcome of this project,” Ms Kotzé stated. “I am thankful for the meaning it has brought to many lives by opening a window to knowledge for many.”
Bergzicht alumni and carer Annie Franke, one of the first graduates from the inception of the Health and Frail Care programme in 1992, says she feels special to be included as an honorary guest.
“I am wowed. Bergzicht did wonders for me from the time I was jobless to help me to make my dream come true.”
Bergzicht CEO Renske Minnaar paid special tribute to the Hanns Seidel Foundation, a faithful financial contributor since the dawn of the organisation, as well as long term board – and now honorary member – Kosie de Villiers, who assisted with the business plan.
“Cecile’s key to success lies in involving the best people to build a sustainable community upliftment model. Those people laid the foundation for the continuation of impact we are celebrating today,” Mr De Villiers said.
As community partner, Stellenbosch Municipality was represented by Mayoral Committee member, Councillor Rozette du Toit, who commended Bergzicht for the opportunities created.
“It’s people like you who bring value to the economy with education, investing towards a hopeful future,” she commented.
Hanns Seidel Foundation regional resident representative for Southern Africa, Hanns Bühler, said: “A placement rate of 66% is a huge success. I see the responsible future of vocational training as integration with the market need to deliver equal access to education.”
Giving praise to Ms Minnaar’s leadership, he congratulated the team’s accomplishment as exceptional against the backdrop of South Africa, challenged by violence, crime and inequality.
Board Member Kathy Harris also announced advanced development efforts with strategic solutions for job retention after graduation, with a subtle rebranding and logo update.
Bergzicht will continue to lead the vulnerable towards empowerment through sustained effort and towards united community upliftment.