Breaking Out of the Cycle of Poverty
Farm workers and their families in the wine growing areas of the Western Cape, including the area called the Swartland, where we are located, have been trapped in poverty for many generations. Many of today’s problems have roots in colonialism, slavery, apartheid as well as the “dop system” where labourers were paid part of their wage in alcohol. This devastating practice has now been outlawed, but only in, as recently as, the last two decades, and its impact still remains.
The effects of poverty are evident everywhere: poor and overcrowded accommodation, illiteracy, high school drop-out rates, alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, unskilled young people and adults, HIV/AIDS, shockingly high rates of TB and some of the highest levels of children born with FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) in the world. These overwhelming challenges result in communities deeply lacking in capacity trapping them in a perpetuating cycle of poverty. While these factors take their toll on all in the community, they have a shattering effect in particular on the quality of life of children.