FAQ

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. !cid_image003_jpg@01D0BB10 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.

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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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