Association Aid & Solidarity Austria

Our Mission

In early 2020, we founded the charitable association “Development Aid & Solidarity Austria” out of which the Courage Club Charity was born. We use plastic surgical concepts in developing countries and provide assistance to help people with malformations, congenital and acquired defects to improve quality of life through surgical intervention.

In 2023, we extended our focus to humanitarian and charitable social measures with our project in Kranshoek in South Africa.  Our primary focus is to feed the poor, to assist women and children of abuse with safe shelter and psychological support. We empower women to become independent by teaching them work and life skills.

Our section AUSTRIA is actively committed to the prevention, therapy and aftercare of abused and traumatised children at home and abroad.

Poverty is a very complicated issue, feeding a child isn’t”
-Jeff Bridges


Kranshoek in South Africa 2023

Poverty together with its best friends – Hunger, Drugs, Alcohol and Gender Based Violence are like a thief stealthily creeping into Kranshoek, affecting especially the poor and vulnerable. This area is synonymous with a very disadvantaged economically crippled population, youth unemployment is alarmingly above 50 %, and has only increased from 2020 to 2023 due to the Drought and COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, both these crippling factors have an adverse impact in the usually high numbers of International Tourists to the Garden Route. These dwindling numbers directly impacting this economic turbulence.

This desperate situation impacted and fueled all our efforts to improve and ease this negative spiral, and Our Heart project was born. In 2021 we purchased a piece of land in Kranshoek, with the vision to build a pivotal community landmark, The Kranshoek Community Center, offering this compromised community a place of safety, welcomed temporary shelter for the women and children that are the innocent victims of violence, abuse and the trappings of poverty. Our soup kitchen provides vital food for over 650 meals per week, feeding women, children and the elderly.

“The country where education is valued, not as a formality but as a pride of the country, Is never poor

-Nintin Namdeo

We believe strongly in the benefits of education. We plan to introduce a skills-based school program, educating the youth in a trade or valuable work skill. Besides instilling higher self-esteem, it also has added advantage to better integrate them into the workforce with dignity, improve their earning potential, afford them and their families the chance to step out of poverty.

More Information

Our Main Focus

Next, we met with the community and the local municipality to discuss the needs of the people of Kranshoek. Together, we plot the best way forward for the community.  Everyone agrees on what needs the most attention.  With that in mind we plan to focus on the following and address:
•   Hunger of the poorest
•   Gender-based or Domestic violence
•   Safe and protected environment for women and children
•   Further education and skills amongst especially young women
•   High illiteracy levels amongst the school going population.
•   Preventive information on drug/alcohol abuse and early pregnancy thought by experts.

Self-employment by creating co-ops

  • After the initial layout and planting of the vegetable and fruits garden it will be handed over to a small co-op of Kranshoek locals, who will be responsible for growing the food. In turn, the Courage Club, will buy food from the cooperative for use in our own soup kitchen.
  • In the inhouse bakery we will apply the same principle and will make a co-op with locals responsible for baking goods for our soup kitchen. Also, here we will buy the products produces by this Co-op for our Soup Kitchen.
  • Two more Co-op’s are planned for a group of Seamstresses/Tailors Alteration Hands/Dressmakers as well as a group Carpenters/Furniture Reconditioning
  • More co-op’s will be created in the future.

This set-up will therefore achieve two goals i.e create employment for a bunch of locals and supply our soup kitchen with food at a reasonable price.  In addition, the co-op will also sell food to the public at an affordable price, while still being profitable

To create opportunities for our co-ops to sell their excess products, we are supporting the creation of a public Saturday market in the heart of Kranshoek. Together with community the goal is to promote the trade and sale of goods produced by the people of Kranshoek in a safe and clean environment like a market.  

Education & Job Market

During discussions with community, we were made aware that even scholars that did complete their schooling career, have major problems finding work due to the lack of hands-on skill set. There is no work apprenticeship in South Africa and thus the principle of “learning by doing on the job” as low paid workers is applied. These jobs are in great demand and don’t pay well. Kranshoek is about 15 km outside of town and the only way to get into town to physically go and look for work, is by privately-operated taxis. To overcome this travelling obstacle, we intend to create a job app, where the successful participants of our skill courses can upload their CV’s and their Courage Club Skills Training Certificates.  This will make it easier for them to be recruited by employers in the area. We must strive to become a reliable source of pre-qualified workers for the local business community.

Soup Kitchen

To get to a first insight into life in poverty in Kranshoek and to get to know the community we opened our Soup Kitchen on May 15. 2023. Within one weeks after our start we now serve + 650 meals per week.

Skills Training 

We intend to develop a hands-on Skills Development program. We are looking at 16
to 20-week courses for 8 – 10 persons at a time. We aim to receive training on
various machines and learn processes from our product sponsors. Since we know
retired people in Plett who will give of their time to teach young people skills to enable
them to find jobs more easily This allows us to create a broad set of skills and
knowledge base. We will run the project independently based on the “train the
trainee” concept.
We identified the following trades:

Hotel and Restaurant Industry (servers, house keepers, food handling and
preparing, reservation systems etc.)
Garden and Landscaping (incl. Vegetable and Fruits growing).
Seamstresses/alteration hands/dressmakers.
Basic computer skills.
Bakery production.
Others to be determined.

We identified the following trades:

  • Hotel and Restaurant Industry (servers, house keepers, food handling and preparing, reservation systems etc.)
  • Garden and Landscaping (incl. Vegetable and Fruits growing).
  • Seamstresses/tailors/alteration hands/dressmakers.
  • Basic computer skills.
  • Bakery production.
  • Furniture Reconditioning and carpenters.
  • Others to be determined.

Preventive Education Classes

The young people are also in dire need of preventive classes for alcohol and other substances abuse and preventative measures of early age pregnancy as well as basic life skills.

Land purchase 

The land registration was completed in February 2023 and the Courage Club took official ownership of the property. We began the rezoning process immediately, with the help of a professional company. Rezoning is required by law for our project purposes. On average it takes 8-10 months to be approved.

Planned Buildings Phase 1

To address these various topics and problems properly and on an ongoing process, we need to focus on building the Courage Club Community Center (Multipurpose Building), to ensure that we are able will be able to run multiple programs parallel and for the long run. The Multipurpose Building will be home to:

  • Kitchen and bakery tract that we will primarily use to prepare the food for women, children and elderly, which will be served during our soup kitchen days.
  • A 2- Bedroom attached building, which will house a caretaker and family.
  • Eating room for 25 needy during the soup kitchen days or community events.
  • Meeting, schooling and gathering rooms (divisible rooms for practical use)..
  • As part of the Courage Club Multipurpose Community Center, we plant a +1500 m2 large fruit and vegetable garden, to grow all the vegetable and fruits needed for our soup kitchen.

Planned Buildings Phase 2

  • A separate building to be used as the house of safety for victims and children with 4 individual bedrooms, bath and showers, joint living room and integrated 1. Aid/Consultation room. This will be the base for first responders to start the help and support process until the victims can be turned over to the official government support system called FAMSA.
  • Separate building that will house the classrooms for the hands-on academics skills training and install a covered open area for outdoor training.
  • If approved by the Department of Healt a fully functional Courage Club Clinic, where we can offer free live-saving reconstructive surgeries and drama informed care for children. The founder of the Courage Club, Dr. Benjamin Gehl, a reconstructive surgeon in Austria will operate and train local surgeons on the latest operating techniques.

Benefits for the People of Kranshoek

Our goal for the Kranshoek project, is to uplift the community at large, give young people the skills necessary to lead more prosperous life for them and their families. We will feed the poorest of the poor regularly on a healthy diet and support and protect victims of violence from the aggressors and get them processed into the government support system.

In the process of achieving our set goals, we will be able to create paying work by creating sustainable co-ops, by involving the community members as skills instructors on a course term basis. Our goal is to create independence by means of the “train the trainee” program i.e those that have been through our training programs can now become the trainers. We hope to train about 60 young people per year to become prequalified workers and thus earn a sustainable salary.

One needs to be aware of the fact, that for one person earning a salary, there are 4-5 people living on that salary, sometimes more.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

With your help and vital financial support, we can only strengthen our ongoing project and visions. This vital support will assist in realizing our new plans to uplift the morale and wellbeing of the community of Kranshoek.

For any questions regarding the project or sponsoring in any from, please feel free to contact us at any time.

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