During the Cape Town stopover, a group of 20 crew, from across the fleet, visited the Isibindi Safe Park, a very special programme supported by Clipper Race Charity Partner Unicef. The aim of this project visit was to reward active fundraisers for their efforts on fundraising for Unicef through the Clipper Race journey, whilst to also bring to life the invaluable work that Unicef does on the ground so that the Clipper Race crew can proactively promote the work that Uncief does as they circumnavigate the globe.

The Isibindi Safe Park, in Grabouw, is a place where children from the local community can come to play, learn, get love and are provided with a safe space. It is a programme that has been developed by the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) and endorsed by the government in response to the needs of vulnerable families in South Africa. During the visit, the Clipper Race crew members had the opportunity for round table discussions with the people helping to make to make a difference in Grabouw. Today, on World Children’s Day 2019, we reflect on the experience.

Working within the Safe Park are a dedicated group of child and youth care workers, whose role is to provide one on one sessions to the children who need it the most. This scheme, known as the Isibindi Ezikoleni Model, provides care based on the individual child’s needs and has a goal to improve the well-being of vulnerable and at risk learners, particularly students who are at risk of school drop out. The role of the child and youth care worker is to promote the importance of education, health and also assist with the transition into adulthood.

One of the highlights of the crews visit was meeting with the Isibindi Youth Forum group. This group, run by students from the Safe Park, range in age from 14 to 21 years old. The Youth Forum members work together with the child and youth care workers to help identify high risk students. But their advantage is that, as students themselves, they are studying and socialising with their peers and can help make change from within.

Following the excitement of the visit from crew to the Isibindi Safe Park, some children were invited down to the V&A Waterfront to step on board the Unicef yacht and try their hand at many sailing activities while the boat was berthed up including testing their strength on the coffee grinders, which help to hoist the sails. This provided huge excitement and inspiration to the children, all of which had never ventured down into Cape Town, let alone onto a 70ft ocean racing yacht.

In addition to its involvement with the Isibindi project visit, Unicef South Africa also took advantage of the Unicef branded yacht being present in Cape Town to host a sail day where they invited corporate and private donors to join them for a day of sailing in Table Bay, in recognition of the invaluable contribution they have provided to Unicef and its associated projects.

The involvement in Cape Town with the community from the Isibindi Safe Park has been fundamental in reminding all those associated with the Clipper Race of the incredible contribution that Unicef is providing to various remote communities on the race circuit. At the time of writing this article, the Clipper 2019-20 Race has nearly raised an incredible £180,000 for Unicef.

Gloria Khoza, Child Protection Officer of Unicef SA said ‘’For Uncief this was a successful visit showcasing a partnership model between government and civil society organisations. The Isibindi Safe Park in Grabouw is an oasis, shielding children and youth from the lived realities of their community. This is a safe space for children to exercise their right to participation, to become empowered as well as to receive the necessary love, care and support to thrive, survive and transform. Both the Clipper Race Crew and children left as different people from the interactions. For many of the children, this was the first time going to the V&A Waterfront – an experience that has propelled them to dream bigger!’’