THE NEED

Vrygrond/Capricorn is an area of approximately 5 square kilometers situated on the Cape flats between the sea and Sea Winds, on Prince George Drive about 5 kilometers from Muizenberg.

It has a population of approximately 20,000 people consisting of Coloureds born in the area, blacks, mostly Xhosa from the Eastern Cape and refugees from Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC and Nigeria, with a smattering in indigent whites.

The widespread shack housing continues to be upgraded to small 3 roomed brick dwellings, with most occupants adding shacks to house family or tenants. There is community Library and a junior school, these being the only public facilities; there is nothing by way of any recreational facility so necessary especially for the youth.

Unemployment in the area is as bad as any in South Africa and is amongst the worst in the Western Cape with the additional problem of at best a 40% literacy rate. The incidence of drug resistant TB is the highest in South Africa and deaths from this are a common occurrence. HIV, as might be expected, is rife in the area but reliable statistics are obscured by the TB.

Drug abuse is major problem. Gang activity in this regard is widespread with children as young as ten years old being addicted. Reliable crime statistics are impossible to obtain as crime is so common and widespread that it is more often than not, not even reported to the police. However, the regular reporting in the False Bay Echo and the People's Post news papers bear witness to the fact that crime is a major problem. Alcohol abuse and drunkenness is run of the mill and fatal alcohol syndrome is common place. Child abuse in its many forms is widespread, as is prostitution. Xenophobia also makes its regular appearance.

All of this points to the fact that Vrygrond is not a safe place for children, particularly the very young. There is no place for them to go other than into the streets and there they are at the mercy of the gangs amongst other threats to their wellbeing and safety.

Butterfly Way Educare provides an alternative. Although we are small, we do provide a safe place for pre school children and in so doing are a help to parents and thereby we make a meaningful contribution to a better future for the area. Pre school education will not solve the problems of Vrygrond, but it can most certainly contribute to a future solution and the future is not that far away.