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Vrygrond – The Cape’s oldest informal settlement

Informal Settlements house up to 2.4 million South Africans and volunteer organisations provide the communities with support and housing through development and volunteer projects.

The history of Vrygrond

Vrygrond is a socially and economically disadvantaged community of some 10,000 men, women and children, situated near Muizenberg, on the False Bay coast about 20 kilometres from central Cape Town. It is the oldest informal settlement in the Western Cape with Trek fishermen who made a living from the sea having erected informal houses to live near the beach. Since then the people of Vrygrond has faced many obstacles and hardships to remain in the area and though determination and strength of will, they managed to erect 1600 new houses, a crèche, a library and a primary school in 2008.

Informal settlements in South Africa

Informal settlements, also called Townships, are a collection of informal housing structures set up on Council Land and houses an estimated 1.2 to 2.4 million South African households. The informal settlements are often “illegal” as they are set on public land and private property and with a dense population they lack access to basic water and sanitary services. There are a total of 110 informal settlements in Johannesburg alone and can be seen as a dominant form of urban growth in Africa.

Community development projects in Cape Town

Since the end of the Apartheid era there has been an increase in community development projects in South Africa aimed at helping to raise money and build houses for less privileged communities. In addition to assisting with housing, there are even more opportunities to help the community through the development of schools, crèches and volunteer centres aimed at improving the children of the township’s quality of life and teaching them life skills for when they are older.

Volunteer in Cape Town

At Dreams To Reality we provide volunteer opportunities in Cape Town to help improve the lives of children in the community by teaching them important life skills which enables them to make better life decisions.  Our programmes focuses on the formative years and provides a full variety of fun activities to the students to teach them in a fun and exciting environment, thus helping to build and develop communities in Cape Town. See our Programmes for more information on how you can volunteer in Cape Town today.


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