History

The Better Life Organisation was founded by Mark Eames & Niklaus Boll in 2010 who shared a common passion to improve the lives of others living in the Helderberg Basin.  For the first 4 years, BLO spent much of its time and effort training unemployed men to build Wendy Houses and then those teams were involved in the construction such units for the poor and needy in Sir Lowry’s Village.

During this time the founders of BLO, Mark Eames and Niklaus Boll, met up with Francesca Garrard and Nigel Sellers, who was also involved in Sir Lowry’s Village but whose focus was more on children and education.

With the building of Low-Cost Housing finally coming to Sir Lowry’s, the need for Wendys was greatly reduced and since both parties had crossed paths many times it became obvious that the sensible thing to do was to join forces which resulted in a new BLO being launched in 2014.

To date, Better Life has completed the following projects:

 

Fix-A-House Project:

The focus was on training up local labour in order to replace shacks with wooden Wendy houses. The recipients were specifically selected and had to be elderly, disabled, or youth. More than 21 Wendy houses were built and handed over to families during the course of the project.

Young Bafana Soccer Academy:

Young Bafana was inaugurated in 2010 when founder, Bernd Steinhage, decided to turn his passion into a career and change the lives of disadvantaged children in South Africa. Currently there are 120 Academy members & 10 support staff, made up of full-time & part-time coaches, an administrator & interns who spend 3 – 6 months with the academy. The Academy provides a challenging & enriching environment for beneficiaries between the ages of 5 & 19. The focus is on holistic development through soccer, life-skills & educational programmes which assist in preparing beneficiaries to apply for scholarships & to pursue a professional soccer career. The coaching style encourages members to use their initiative, make decisions and take responsibility for their actions on & off the field. Currently, the educational outreach programme provides English & Maths tutoring. In the future, the Academy would like to be able to provide customised tutoring to beneficiaries who are struggling with specific academic subjects. Better Life has sponsored the Maths program for a year.

Hands of Honour:

Currently, there are 9 men, involved in various projects which include repairing broken office equipment, using discarded materials & wood to manufacture products & upgrading derelict community areas. The grant was used to purchase power tools, such as band, table & radial saws, planers & staple guns which has enabled them to increase their product range & improve product quality. A portion of the grant was used to purchase 6 Book Nooks (mobile libraries) which were donated to Early Childhood Development Centres.

Milk Matters:

Better Life contributed funds towards the purchase of a Sterifeed pasteuriser, which is an integral part of Milk Matter’s expansion project, and the purchase of freezers allowed for the opening of 2 new breastmilk depots.

Sinazo Helebe – Bursary recipient:

Sinazo has been awarded a Better Life bursary to enable her to commence studying towards a Biotechnology Diploma at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (currently in her 3rd year). Sinazo is from Strand & completed her schooling at Hottentots Holland High School in 2015.

Tereo School:

At the beginning of 2015, Better Life Organisation came to hear about Tereo School based in Somerset West and we were invited to pay them a visit. The trustees were delighted & humbled by the experience of seeing the beaming faces of Tereo’s learners eager to learn from the passionate, dedicated educators, support staff and volunteers involved with this Community School. Tereo is a school focussed on children who are well outside of mainstream education (i.e learning disabilities, living on the street, etc.).Better Life allocated funds for the construction of a much-needed new classroom for the growing school. After a flurry of activity, the classroom was ready in August 2015 for the learning, fun & games to begin. Better Life has subsequently funded the annual salary of one of the teachers.

SA Prison Care Project:

The aim of the project is to provide new school uniforms, shoes, books and stationery to children of incarcerated offenders, parolees and unemployed released offenders. Many of these children have never had the opportunity of receiving a new school uniform, bag, shoes and always had to rely on neighbours and family’s generosity for second uniforms and stationery. In 2016, 20 children benefited from Phase 1 of the project.

Senecio:

This is an organisation that supports disabled children and adults. Better Life sponsored 50% of the cost of a specialized wheelchair for a cerebral palsy boy. Further donations included software and equipment to help this child use all of the chairs functionality and improve his own learning.

The Boys’ Brigade – Western Cape Battalion:

The Boys’ Brigade is a local Helderberg boys brass band. Better Life the sponsored musical equipment that the band required.

Simanyene Centre:

This is an organisation that supports disabled children and adults. Better Life has arranged a number of outings for members of this centre. Better Life has also paid for numerous upgrades to the centre, as well as necessary equipment.

Nurse Noyise:

Better Life has funded transport, uniform, and books for her study to become a nurse.