WATCH |Extending an olive branch to uplift a community
Could extending an olive branch give children the roots to flourish? This small fruit has played a significant role in helping Elzanne Bolsen facilitate the growth of kids in Riebeek Kasteel.
Here, many youngsters come from crowded and impoverished households. “There is no support from the parents, no income,” Bolsen says. They risk losing sight of why schooling is important. But not under Bolsen’s watch. “I won’t let our children fade away,” she says.
Bolsen is a psychologist in training and manager of the Riebeek Kasteel Youth Centre. This sanctuary for kids is part of the Goedgedacht Trust’s Path Out of Poverty programme, where children are offered meals, a shower, after-school care, homework assistance, and counselling.
The centre is also equipped with a library and computer room.
To keep the institution going strong, Goedgedacht farm produces and sells 10 000 litres of olive oil and 30 to 35 tonnes of table olives every year.
But it’s Bolsen’s dedication and commitment that gives the centre its power. She sells slap chips every Friday to bring in additional funds. As a successful alumni of the initiative, Bolsen has experienced how it changes lives.
Now, she wants to be a foundation of support for the development of others. “My vision is to create strong leaders,” Bolsen says.