Heideveld kids set sail

Thirteen children from Heideveld learnt how to sail last Tuesday at the V&A Waterfront’s Battery Park.

Boys and girls from Heideveld were ecstatic as they learnt how to sail, at the V&A Waterfront’s Battery Park last week.

A group of experienced sailors assisted The Little Optimist Sailing Academy non-profit organisation to teach the 13 children from Willows, Vanguard, Heideveld, and Dagbreek primary schools about ocean life, knot tying, boats and how to sail, on Tuesday February 20.

Greg Bertish, founder of the Little Optimist Trust, said that the aim of the programme was to encourage children to be passionate about the ocean, surfing, and sailing. He said that many children came from abusive homes and had nothing to live for but now they had an opportunity to be passionate about something. He said the sailors were mentors to the children who could learn a lot from them.

“The children are so happy to be here. They also had a walk around the aquarium and saw some boats as well. Water safety, the marine environment, drowning prevention and ocean health are all the things we speak about. They walk away with a certificate and medal which they feel very proud of, and lunch and supper as well,” he said.

The pastor of the Heideveld Baptist Church, Vernon Bosch, who is in charge of scouting schools in the area for pupils to attend the programme, said children learnt a lot about marine from it and several had expressed an interest in pursuing a marine-related career.

“The children really enjoy this. The first group is still talking about it. The exposure to sailing is so amazing for them, opening up a whole new life for them.

“A lot of the children have difficulty fitting in at school and have discipline issues at school. They showed much improvement in their behaviour after the course and interest to learn more.

“The feedback we have received from the schools is very positive. Everyone wants to come because they go back and talk to their peers about it. This has really made a positive change in a lot of children’s lives. It shows them that there is life outside of the Cape Flats and encourages them to become anything that they aspire to be in life, and that is what we want for our children.

Reano Marinus, from Willows Primary School, said he enjoyed feeling the wind pushing the boat he was in.

“I would like to be a sailor and bring my friends here too,” he said.

Greg Bertish, founder of the Little Optimist Trust, said that the aim of the programme was to encourage children to be passionate about the ocean, surfing, and sailing.
The children learnt about ocean life, knot tying, boats and how to sail.