Zoe Project, Retreat, Cape Town, Classroom, Toilet and Kitchen Handover, 15 November 2017

In spite of the much-needed rain that drove guests undercover on 15 November 2017 as proceedings got underway, Breadline Africa and the Zoe Project were delighted to launch a new classroom, toilet and kitchen for their Nurture, Educate and Empower project. It was co-funded by Rotary Claremont (who provided the containers) and Breadline Africa’s generous donors.

The Zoe Project was established in 2002 and runs a number of programmes from within the resource-constrained
Retreat and Hanover Park Maternity and Obstetrics Unit. Volunteers work alongside government medical staff to support women throughout pregnancy, childbirth and in pregnancy crisis situations.

Zoe was running its interventions out of a tiny room in the Maternity and Obstetrics Unit and desperately wanted to grow and reach more mothers in need of counselling and support. Breadline Africa saw the value that this organisation provides and how it links to the fundamental importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life.

Breadline Africa’s Director, Marion Wagner, quoted from research which states that malnutrition, substance abuse and stress experienced in mothers as ‘incubators’ of the unborn may lead to children who suffer from physical stunting, tendencies to deviance and mental disorders, among them schizophrenia. The toxic stress to which mothers in poor neighbourhoods are exposed alters the efficiency of the embryonic development, with the unexpected related outcome that these alterations may themselves become heritable. Maternal behaviour can lead to male children being primed for ‘threat detection’ resulting in being conditioned to respond in particularly aggressive ways. Zoe does amazing work in helping mothers to nurture and love their children and thus plays a critical role in preventing disorders in future generations.

Breadline Africa was delighted to have the international board of trustees in town to attend the event. Former Chairperson, Louise Seligman cut the ribbon to officially open the facility.