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Micheala’s journey

My name is Micheala Dampies. I am 20 years old and will be doing my 3rd and final year in Human Resource Management.

I am from a community called Heideveld where I finished primary and high school journey.  In primary school I joined a rope skipping club the Backpack sponsors, Great Commission United (GCU).  I have been a part of GCU for 6 years now and I have taken part in many rope skipping competitions where I have received my Western Cape Colours In Rope skipping colours and have won approximately 60+ medals over the past 6 years.

Rope Skipping has allowed me to go to places outside of my community and places outside of Cape Town such as Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria to compete in Rope skipping National Championship trials.

The Backpack plays a huge role in the community project and they have helped so many kids within the project. When I turned 16 they employed me at The Backpack at the reception, café and rooms. This showed me how to work and act professionally and how to save my money I was earning. The Backpack has supported me financially by paying for my study fees for the past two years and continue to do so on condition that I pass my exams.

I am not entirely sure how I would have studied if I haven’t received the bursary from The Backpack, as my parents both passed away when I was young and I was placed in my grandmothers care who survied on poor State benefits.  The Backpack and GCU have been a great help in my life and have allowed me to spread my wings and fly. They have both also taught me how to give back without expecting anything in return. I am currently the rope skipping project coordinator;  I have the role of making sure that everything runs smoothly.

The motivation that the staff members at The Backpack have given me keeps me on my feet and has me rising against all odds. It is very difficult coming from a community where drugs and gangsterism is a norm and children find it hard to get into universities because their parents are unable to pay for their studies.  I am one of the fortunate few within the community who has been granted the opportunity to follow my dreams.

The most important thing that I have learnt was to give back to others and to teach them what I have been taught; which is to help, educate and inspire wherever and however you can.

Thank you Backpack and GCU for making a difference in my life as well as in the lives of others.

  • Bursary Scheme

    2015 2016
    STAFF R36 170 R49 035
    CHILDREN R53 028 R61 720
    TOTALS R89 198 R110 755


    By donating your key deposit, you contribute to our Bursary Fund, which allows our staff to access this fund for their own studies or studies of their children or grandchildren.  In 2017 with your help, we have paid for Sbu (Sports administration 3rd year),   Michaela (Third year Human Resources) at Damelin College; Thando’s son Nathi at Camps Bay Primary School,  Portia’s daughter Rosemary to attend Grade 2 at an inner city school; Primrose’s son’s Grade 9 school fees; Cathy’s son’s Grade 6 school fees and for Caroline’s daughter Yonela to go to Cape College (Third year administration).

    We are so proud of our staff and their kids and thank you to all our guests who have made this possible. This Bursary Fund is accessible to all our staff and is transparent.

  • The Rope Skipping Project

    2015 2016
    R157 871 R128 068


    Even though there are some girls kick­ing the foot­ball with Mario, to cater for girls an extra activ­ity was added to the project — jump rope! This is a new sport craze sweep­ing over the youth of Cape Town. The Back­pack has spon­sored 12 girls who have made it into our Provin­cial Team. Sbu the coach has been an inspi­ra­tion to the girls attend­ing this pro­gram. He him­self is a world champion.

  • The Soccer Project

    In an area of Cape Town noto­ri­ous for gang­sters, drug- and alcohol-related prob­lems, one local — Mario van Niek­erk — began a soc­cer pro­gram designed to keep kids off the streets and in school. Mario’s GCU Acad­emy was born. In 2007, we met up with Mario and intro­duced an after-school home­work, tutor­ing, and life skills pro­gram; in a neigh­bour­hood where lit­er­acy is 24% and the aver­age child drops out of school at 12 years old.

  • Val­lies Stitch and Bitch Program

    With the Val­lies Stitch and Bitch Pro­gram, we have col­lec­tively knit­ted over one hun­dred blan­kets for AIDS orphans at Baphumelele Crèche in Khayelitscha Town­ship. We have old age homes con­tribut­ing to this project with their fan­tas­tic knit­ting skills. If you can knit plain, come along, relax in the lounge or bar at The Back­pack, and knit a square or two! If you can’t knit but would like to con­tribute to keep­ing the lit­tle ones snug, we gladly accept dona­tions of wool.

  • Thank you for choos­ing to make a difference

    Been trav­el­ing a while and got a pile of unwanted clothes in your back­pack? Donate them at recep­tion and we’ll sell them on your behalf, with the pro­ceeds going to The Soc­cer and Jump Rope Project.

    Whether it’s your time, your money, or both, you can be guar­an­teed the sat­is­fac­tion and ful­fill­ment of help­ing out chil­dren and peo­ple in need! By under­stand­ing, address­ing and help­ing the social needs of the eco­nom­i­cally and socially dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties of South Africa, we are able to work towards a just soci­ety in which all peo­ple get to share in the wealth of the coun­try.

    Choose to make a difference!

    Guest Feedback

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    Nice people, bedroom are very comfortable, the decoration is nice and colourful, you have lot of choice for your breakfast, the view on the mountain specially Table Mountain is amazing. So, I will go back without any doubt! :)

    Baz930 - France

    Love it

    Environmental sustainability is embraced and awareness raised in all common areas of the hostel, which makes it stand out and setting an example.

    Beatrice - Unknown

    A great place to be

    A great chance to meet other travellers and exchange experiences. The place itself is clean and smartly decorated, with great views and fantastic breakfast.

    Aviva - Unknown


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    Silver - Best African Responsible Tourism

    Social Inclusion


    Winner - Green Accommodation Initiative

    Global Youth Travel Awards


    2nd Place - Best Hostel in Africa

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