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.
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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
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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!