Is other assistance – such as donations of food, equipment or clothing – useful to Breadline Africa?

Unfortunately, due to the high costs of storage, customs clearance, VAT and excise duty, large imported donations of food, equipment, clothing and educational toys are not encouraged. Small airmail packages that are delivered directly to the Cape Town office are always very welcome as we ensure they get directly to the neediest communities. Items that are not imported – i.e. locally sourced are also very welcome

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Does Breadline Africa work directly with volunteers?

Many of our recipient development projects are started by or even run primarily by volunteers. However, we do not organise volunteer placement ourselves. If you would like to work as a volunteer, we can provide you with contact details of appropriate projects that we fund. We do offer placements to graduates or post graduates in the Cape Town office, but this is dependent on a skills and needs fit at the time. All placements are unpaid.

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What are your links with churches?

We do not fund churches directly. However, in very poor areas, development projects are often centred around churches, which offer infrastructure and accountability, and we will fund these if they meet our criteria. We monitor projects carefully to make sure that there is no bias by the organisation towards people of a certain religious group.

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Are you not trying to do what the government should be doing – providing early childhood development centres (ECD) / nursery schools?

In South Africa, there are a large number of children up to the age of five who are not attending early childhood development (ECD) centres/nursery schools in the informal settlements. This is often linked to poverty, as families cannot afford the fees. These children are vulnerable and many experience hunger on a daily basis, malnutrition-related symptoms and might become victims of child abuse. Theirs is a world where imagination is not opened and futures are not enabled. Research shows that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are crucially important for brain development. Children need good health, good nutrition and a healthy supportive environment. ECD educational services (nursery schools) improve mental and physical health, improve school readiness and reduce risky behaviours – vitally important for later cognitive and physical development. Furthermore, 17% of South African children suffer from stunting caused by malnutrition, 1.8 million children live in informal dwellings and only 55% of three- to four-year-olds attend nursery school. Breadline Africa identifies existing ECD centres that operate out of unsuitable structures (often cramped, leaking and unsafe) and supports them with converted shipping containers that offer safe and spacious classrooms, kitchens and toilet blocks to address all of the above.

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Are you not trying to do what the government should be doing – providing libraries?

Despite the fact that South Africa spends in the region of 18,5 % of its annual budget on education, the education sector faces a crisis, which is exacerbated by unacceptably low levels of literacy and numeracy at primary school level. When it comes to literacy, South Africa faces the same challenges as other developing countries. There are large rural areas without adequate infrastructure, under-resourced urban schools and parents who are unable to contribute to their children’s learning for a variety of reasons. These may include long working hours, a lot of time spent commuting, working away from home or even their own limited literacy levels. It is the responsibility of government to ensure that teachers are trained accordingly and schools have adequate basic resources. Sadly, this is not the case in many primary schools across South Africa. The Mandela Day Container Library Project was launched in response to the critical situation in South African schools, where approximately 80% of South African schools do not have access to a stocked library. The stark reality behind these figures is that hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren have no experience of the tools that will help to develop a lifelong love of reading.

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Should I consider giving money regularly to the same organisation, such as Breadline Africa?

If you are happy with the work that we are doing, it is a good idea to consider regular direct debit giving. Like any other organisation, development organisations operate best when there is financial stability.

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What are the tax implications of making a donation to you?

This will vary from country to country. - In the UK, gift aid applies whereby the charity claims 25% tax back from the tax authorities. - In South Africa, we issue a tax certificate when requested by donors, which may be used as a tax deduction by the donor. - In the Republic of Ireland the tax authorities will provide tax repayment to the charity on charitable donations in excess of €250.00 in any tax year.

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What countries does your support reach?

In the past, Breadline Africa supported various projects in the SADC countries however in recent years, our focus has shifted to South Africa, where we are better able to monitor and evaluate funds effectively. The need in South Africa continues to grow.

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How do you make sure money is spent as it should by the recipients? And what happens when projects go wrong?

We have a dedicated team in Cape Town who remain in close contact with our recipients. In additional to carefully selecting projects, we monitor projects through reports and site visits, including unannounced visits. The unannounced visits are often very fruitful, as the recipients sometimes don’t have good report-writing skills or don’t realise what project information we value. So far, we have only had one project where we decided to withdraw funds after allocation.

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How much of the money you raise goes to the projects? And how do you ensure financial accountability?

All available net funds raised are allocated to projects after sufficient working capital has been set aside to fund the ongoing fundraising programme, administration and the monitoring of project funding. Our finances are audited annually by independent auditors (in each country that Breadline Africa operates) and we are registered in those countries, so as to comply with all relevant legislation. In the UK, the audited financial statements are filed (annually) with the UK Charity Commissioners. The Board of Trustees in each country also ensure financial accountability.

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How do you make decisions about who to support?

We fund projects referred to in our direct mail appeal mailings. All surplus funds (to what is required by those projects) are allocated to similar projects that meet our strict criteria and that we consider are most likely to succeed. Find out about our Container Programme and how to apply. We also continually look for corporate sponsors and have created a list of projects needing sponsorship - also see Get involved - Corporate section

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Has Breadline Africa always been focused on converting shipping containers?

In 1993, Breadline Africa recognised that a great deal of grassroots development had to take place as a part of South Africa’s nation-building process, and that government structures would not be in a position to provide all of the resources to facilitate this process. It set about drawing attention to the needs of the community-based organisations that it partnered with; while giving donors the reassurance that their financial resources would be used appropriately and to maximum effect. Since its inception, Breadline Africa has been a conduit of much-needed funds to smaller, grassroots organisations, and has a successful track record as a fundraising organisation, having raised and distributed in excess of R117-million to more than 330 organisations between 1993 and 2013. More recently, it has focused its attention on infrastructure projects benefiting children and youth, which are clustered into three main areas – early childhood development (ECD), libraries and a range of similar container projects. Since it first opened its doors, Breadline Africa has provided more than 280 containers to poverty-stricken communities across South Africa.

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What is Breadline Africa?

Breadline Africa is a Cape Town-based non-profit organisation – registered in South Africa and with the UK Charities Commission. It is one of the biggest suppliers of converted shipping containers for poverty relief in Southern Africa and has provided more than 280 containers to poverty stricken communities since its establishment in 1993. The organisation believes that every child has the capacity to do something amazing with his or her life. When a child’s imagination is unlocked, possibilities are opened up, allowing them to choose a path for their own future. Breadline Africa enables this journey by providing initiatives and infrastructure to support childhood development in Southern Africa. The renovated containers are used as early childhood development centres/nursery schools, school libraries, community kitchens and ablution blocks.

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Internationale Verklaring van Ethische Principes
 Breadline Africa hanteert de internationale verklaring van ethische principes bij het werven van fondsen, handelt volgens de vijf onderstaande universele principes en voldoet aan de wetgeving van elk land waarin zij opereert:

Eerlijkheid: Fondsenwervers handelen te allen tijde eerlijk en waarheidsgetrouw, zodat het vertrouwen van het publiek is beschermd en donateurs en begunstigden niet worden misleid.

Respect: Fondsenwervers handelen te allen tijde met respect voor de waardigheid van hun vak en hun organisatie, en met respect voor de waardigheid van donoren en begunstigden.

Integriteit: Fondsenwervers zullen open optreden en vanuit hun verantwoordelijkheid voor het vertrouwen dat zij van de maatschappij genieten. Zij zullen melding maken van alle huidige of potentiële belangenconflicten en elke schijn van persoonlijk of professioneel wangedrag vermijden.

Empathie: Fundraisers zullen zodanig werken dat dit hun doel bevordert en zij zullen anderen aanmoedigen om dezelfde professionele standaard en betrokkenheid te gebruiken. Zij zullen waarde hechten aan de persoonlijke levenssfeer, de individuele keuzevrijheid en de verscheidenheid in al zijn vormen.

Transparantie: Fondsenwervers streven er naar om over het werk dat ze doen, over de manier waarop donaties worden beheerd en uitgekeerd en over de kosten en uitgaven, op een accurate en begrijpelijke wijze, heldere rapportages te leveren.

Click here for the full statement.

Breadline Africa onderschrijft ook de in 1993 door de Vereniging van Fondsenwervende Professionals en andere aanverwante organisaties aangenomen ‘Donor Bill of Rights’.

De Donor Bill of Rights

Filantropie is gebaseerd op een vrijwillig handelen voor het algemeen belang. Het is een traditie van geven en delen die de grondslag is voor kwaliteit van leven. Om de waarden van filantropie en het vertrouwen van het publiek te waarborgen, en  ervoor te zorgen dat donateurs en toekomstige donateurs het volste vertrouwen hebben in non-profit organisaties, verklaren wij dat alle donateurs over de onderstaande rechten beschikken:

  1. Het recht op informatie over de missie van de organisatie, haar doelstellingen en over de manier waarop de organisatie verkregen gelden inzet en over haar mogelijkheden daartoe;
  2. Het recht op informatie over de leden van het bestuur van de organisatie en op een gerechtvaardigde verwachting zodat zij een verstandig oordeel vellen vanuit hun verantwoordelijkheid;
  3. Het recht op toegang tot de meest recente financiële jaarverslagen;
  4. De verzekering te hebben dat giften worden ingezet voor het doel waarvoor ze gegeven zijn;
  5. Het recht als donateur passende erkenning en waardering te krijgen;
  6. Het vertrouwen te hebben dat informatie over hun donatie met respect en vertrouwelijk wordt behandeld, zoals gesteld in de wet van het land van de donateur;
  7. Erop te kunnen vertrouwen dat alle relaties met personen die de organisatie vertegenwoordigen, van professionele aard zijn;
  8. Er via de website of anderszins gemakkelijk achter te kunnen komen dat degenen die namens de organisatie om donaties vragen, vrijwilligers, medewerkers of professioneel ingehuurde krachten van de organisatie zijn;
  9. Het recht en de mogelijkheid te hebben te worden verwijderd van verzendlijsten die de organisatie wil delen met andere fondsenwervende organisaties;
  10. Zich vrij en onbezwaard te voelen om vragen te stellen bij het doneren van geld en daarop prompt eerlijke en oprechte antwoorden te krijgen.

Als u vindt dat Breadline Africa niet aan één of meer van deze eisen voldoet, neem dan gerust contact op bij info@breadline-africa.nl.

Breadline Africa Nederland draagt zowel het ANBI als het Goede Doelen keurmerk.



Fundraising Principles


Breadline Africa aligns itself with the international statement of ethical principles in fundraising, in particular, the following five universal principles and complies with the fundraising laws in each country in which it operates:

Honesty: Fundraisers shall at all times act honestly and truthfully so that the public trust is protected and donors and beneficiaries are not misled.

Respect: Fundraisers shall at all times act with respect for the dignity of their profession and their organisation and with respect for the dignity of donors and beneficiaries.

Integrity: Fundraisers will act openly and with regard to their responsibility for public trust. They shall disclose all actual or potential conflicts of interest and avoid any appearance of personal or professional misconduct.

Empathy: Fundraisers will work in a way that promotes their purpose and encourage others to use the same professional standards and engagement. They shall value individual privacy, freedom of choice, and diversity in all forms.

Transparency: Fundraisers stimulate clear reports about the work they do, the way donations are managed and disbursed, and costs and expenses, in an accurate and comprehensible manner.

Breadline Africa also subscribes to the Donor Bill of Rights, adopted in 1993 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and other associated organisations. 

Donor Bill of Rights


Breadline Africa also subscribes to the Donor Bill of Rights, adopted in 1993 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and other associated organisations. 

The Donor Bill of Rights

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.

II. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.

III. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.

IV. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.

V. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.

VI. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.

VII. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.

VIII. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.

IX. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.

X. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

Breadline Africa continuously monitors its internal processes to ensure these standards are maintained. If at any time you feel that Breadline Africa is not meeting these standards, please contact us at info@breadlineafrica.org.za.