Net vir Pret
Net vir Pret is registered both as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 055 086) and a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930049465) and is supported by a range of organisations, including the Oxford-based Education for Democracy in South Africa (EDSA), the Dutch Stichting Projecten Zuid-Afrika (SPZA), the Claude Leon Foundation, The ELMA Philanthropies, the DG Murray Trust, the King Baudouin Foundation, the Department of Social Development and other private donors.
Net vir Pret is run by an independent Board of Trustees and six employees. Interns and Young Leaders play an important role in the execution of the organisation’s activities.
Net vir Pret aims to work with children and youth from deprived communities in the Overberg (Barrydale/Swellendam Municipal Area), including those on the farms. We aim to encourage self-esteem, self-development, confidence, and a sense of responsibility among these children by providing activities which help to break the cycle of poverty, domestic violence and alcoholism/drug misuse within the family and community. We believe that every child has a right to a happy developmental childhood. By offering after-school, weekend and vacation activities, we aim to keep our children and youth off the street and out of danger and also to offer opportunities for them to develop individual skills and talents and to help them prepare for life after school.
“To have a creative and safe space for children where they can enjoy themselves and develop to their full potential.” This was the dream of Peter Takelo many years ago.
Peter wants children to be children. By offering after-school activities for children who have nothing to do, he wants to give them more joy in life and avoid the possibility that they turn to petty crime out of boredom.
Peter was working as a child development professional in Cape Town and had started a Blikkies Band in Barrydale many years ago with small children making music on biscuit tins and oil cans. On a cold day in April 2002 he met Ann Harries who shared his enthusiasm for working with children in after-school hours. They jointly decided to start an organisation to fulfill Peter’s dream and Net vir Pret – which means Just for Fun in Afrikaans – was born.
In 2004 the board was installed and Net vir Pret became an official NGO. With the help of volunteers and the partner organisations Education for Democracy in South Africa (EDSA) and Stichting Projecten Zuid-Afrika, Net vir Pret was able to offer Peter a full-time position as director and with Ann’s help, the first after-school activities began.
Net vir Pret has grown over the years with an increasing number of activities and many children and youth joining the programmes. Additional funding from new donors allowed for the employment of motivated staff members for essential positions.
In the early years we were based in a classroom at the BF Oosthuizen Primary School but in 2009 we were able to purchase a township house through a legacy from EDSA trustee, Pamela Bankart. In the same year the Jephcott Trust funded the purchase of a canopied bakkie which is now used to take us to work in the local farm schools.
In 2009 the Swellendam Municipality granted a 10 year lease at nominal rental on a farmhouse outside the village at the entrance to the Barrydale Trail which leads to a World Wilderness Heritage site. The farmhouse sleeps 20 and we use it to run live-in workshops and programmes.
In 2009 the renowned Handspring Trust for Puppetry Arts offered us a 7-year partnership which would aim to develop puppetry skills in Barrydale. This has led to an annual parade on the Day of Reconciliation (see below).
Our constant desire was to add on to our building. We had plans for a double-storey extension drawn up and set about fundraising. A breakthrough came when South African born author Zoē Wicomb donated substantially from her Windham-Campbell Literature prize towards the building. Work started on the extension and over the next 6 months enough money came in to complete the project – 80% from private individuals. The spacious and beautiful extension, dedicated to the memory and legacy of Nelson Mandela, was formally opened when Zoë visited in February 2015. The additional space has enabled us to extend existing activities and open new ones.
In 2014 we were able to take in Interns for the first time and 7 were admitted for the year. There were 5 in 2015 and they are adding a valuable dimension to our work.
Net vir Pret has gone from strength to strength over the years but nothing could have been achieved without the support of our wonderful donors. Regular funding is still needed to cover activities and salaries but Peter’s dream came true long ago and hundreds of children have benefitted from his inspirational leadership over the past 10 years.