Organisation Profile

Grassroots is a non-profit accredited organisation located in Cape Town and works throughout the Western Cape Province in the field of Early Childhood Development.

Grassroots Education Trust was established in 1972 under the Chairmanship of Achmat Davids. The policy declaration was “that Grassroots was to be an entirely non-racial body and was to serve all children in greater Cape Town”. Its first project was called Project HELP (Home Early Learning Programme) which made provision for training mothers and their children in their homes. This was done through the employment of home educators who were then trained to teach mothers how to interact with their children and to show mothers that purposeful play could be used to inculcate learning skills in their children.

This was followed by the development of a support programme for centre based educare. This programme was based on the following policy directives: “that Grassroots shall assist and community groups who have the use of a venue to establish a pre-school facility: that such groups shall be representative of the community and shall enter into a contractual arrangement with Grassroots; that Grassroots provide them with equipment and technical know-how to establish their school and shall train them until they are capable to run the school themselves”.

The Adventure Bus programme began with the creation of the Trust. The funding that started the organisation came from 1 cent per week from each member of the Garment Workers Union and the Tramways and Omnibus Workers Union, the Western Province Furniture Union, and NUWCAW .

Grassroots has gone through many changes since its inception. During the 1980s Grassroots was a large national organisation of over 100 staff working throughout the country. As a result of the changed political and economic climate since 1994, Grassroots has repositioned and rationalised itself to create the stable but contained organisation of 13 permanent staff and employing the services of contract workers and volunteers.

Grassroots is 34 years old and is governed by a Board of Trustees. Grassroots is situated in Rylands, a suburb in Athlone in a building with the following facilities:

  • Workshop facilitation (hall which accommodates 150 people)
  • Resource Centre
  • Library
  • Office Space (13 offices)
  • Shop
  • Reception area

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