“To equip the youth of Paternoster for the future and to maintain the local heritage”.
The Paternoster Project NPC is a non-profit organization founded in 2016. It’s premises are located at the heart of Paternoster, where the volunteers are at home during their stay in this fishing village on the West Coast of South Africa.
The foundation is tasked with showing children in underprivileged regions, such as Paternoster, how to rise above their social and economic circumstances and live fulfilling lives. Our aim is to provide the children with a sound foundation for development, which will enable them to live and work successfully and sustainably in Paternoster – or wherever else they choose. Key to this a solid, broad-based education, while considering and respecting the local heritage.
The story of the Paternoster Project NPC
It all started many years ago when Christian Neuber owned a small wine farm in Stellenbosch. The Neubers returned to Germany where Christian became the very successful publisher of children’s magazines, but they never lost their love for South Africa.
When Christian sold his publishing company he established a foundation to promote literacy among the youth. This was his way of giving back to the children who had contributed so significantly to his success as a publisher.
In 2016, the children of Paternoster, through the Paternoster Project NPC, became the beneficiaries of this philanthropic vision.
Two years earlier, on a visit to old friends, Christian and his wife, Katrin, first chanced upon Paternoster and immediately lost their hearts to it. They also saw the children's need for support, due to the precarious state of the small-scale fishing industry. On the other hand, Paternoster had great potential and energy and the local people were keen to cooperate - all vital prerequisites for a successful project, as the Paternoster Project NPC has subsequently proved.
Dr Muller Coetzee
Muller Coetzee, a civil engineer and environmental scientist, brings a wealth of experience to the board of the Paternoster Project NPC. Muller holds a PhD in environmental management and resource economics and is considered a pioneer in the aquaculture industry. After a career with the Department of Environmental Affairs and with Coastal Engineers PRDW, he started his own consultancy, which was later bought out by ERM, a leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting, and sustainability related services. Muller has been involved in a number of projects on behalf of institutions such as the World Bank and the European Union and is often called upon to act as an independent review consultant. Even in semi-retirement Muller has been working tirelessly in the field of sustainable development and environmental research and management. The Paternoster Project NPC is privileged to have a director of the calibre of Muller to advise on the way forward. Through his directorship of the Paternoster Project NPC Muller hopes to contribute towards creating an enabling environment for improving early childhood education and development for the children of Paternoster in onder to help shape a better future for them and a way out of poverty.
Dr Joan Kruger
Invited by Maike Reinhardt in 2017 to establish reading groups as part of the Paternoster Project NPC, Joan has since then wholeheartedly supported the programme. The reading club developed its own identity as Story Hook/Storiehoek, local volunteers were encouraged to come and read to the children, a library was created in the children's house, and a valuable relationship established with Paternoster's town library as an additional venue for Story Hook sessions. Joan is also closely involved with the student volunteers, from teaching them Afrikaans to arranging workshops aimed at their personal development. It was an abiding love for words that led to Joan’s career in newspapers, magazines and publishing, and to a PhD in linguistics. South African born and bred, she is fascinated by history as well as by current affairs. Joan, a founding director of Tip Africa Publishing, still collaborates in various publishing projects for the company. She has, in addition to various commemorative books, written the "biography" of Table Mountain – a story going back all of 500 years. However, Story Hook and the children of Paternoster are keeping her firmly rooted in the present.
Born in Hoopstad in the Free State, André has lived in Paternoster for over 30 years. He worked first as a fisherman and skipper for many years and is deeply respected by the Paternoster community. In 2003 he started Anker Builders, which is a highly reputable family business – and the only one of its kind based in Paternoster. Anker Builders built the already iconic Volunteer House located at the heart of the village. Long renowned for his philanthropy, André and was last year honoured by the community for his generosity. In the prestigious 2018 Community Awards, he received first prize in the category ‘Bridging the Gap between Divided Communities’, for his ongoing dedication to the community of Paternoster. His firm belief and mantra is that: “Nothing about Paternoster without Paternoster, is for Paternoster.”
Maike Reinhardt’s resolute drive and boundless energy served her well when, working side by side with Christian Neuber, she started building up the Paternoster Project NPC in 2016. Based in Stuttgart, Maike brings long-standing experience in an international company to her work as project manager for the foundation ‘Kinder fördern – Zukunft stiften’. As part of her duties for the foundation she coordinates the recruitment of volunteers in Germany and oversees the Paternoster Project NPC. Maike is also responsible for the conception and organisation of the annual Paternoster Project Conference. Brimming over with ideas to develop the project, Maike is committed to partnering with the local community and to encouraging volunteerism. From the word go she felt an instinctive connection with the people of Paternoster and appreciates the deep bond the community has with their village. Maike strongly believes that the people of Paternoster can create a future for themselves while maintaining the character and heritage of the fishing village.
Member of honor
For Christian Neuber life revolves around children. He founded a very successful publishing in children's books and magazines and is now paying it forward by investing in the future of children, both at home in Germany as well as in Paternoster, the fishing village in South Africa, which has become his second home. His belief in the transformational power of a sound education led to the establishment in 2009 of the foundation 'Kinder fördern – Zukunft stiften’. Based in Stuttgart, the foundation has the promotion of reading skills as one of its main aims. This was turned into a boon for the children of Paternoster when Christian, who once owned a wine farm near Stellenbosch, lost his heart to the little fishing village and founded the Paternoster Project NPC in 2016. The project has quickly grown in scope and stature, and in 2018 the Saldanha Bay Municipality honored Christian with their annual Community Award in recognition of his “exceptional” contribution to education.
The Project members
Dr Bernard Rhodes
Bernard Rhodes, currently chief administrator: Practical Learning at Stellenbosch University, has been actively involved in lecturing to under- and postgraduate education students for more than 15 years. He also has nearly 30 years’ practical experience as an educator at a senior school in a challenging social and economic area in Cape Town. As a resident of the West Coast, he is equally passionate about finding successful solutions to Paternoster’s challenges as he is about teacher training.
Dr Jerome Joorst
Jerome Joorst has lived and taught as an educator on the West Coast for over 20 years. He is passionate about social justice and the upliftment of marginalised students. Jerome is a full-time academic in the Department of Education Policy Studies at Stellenbosch University. His research interest is education in rural areas. He has served in various school management and in university youth mentorship structures. His passion and analytical insights add another level of expertise to the Paternoster Project NPC.
Janette, appointed project manager for facilitating and coordinating the development of the hugely ambitious children’s village of the Paternoster Project NPC, is not someone to shy away from daunting undertakings. Janette has more than two decades’ experience in socio-economic development, coastal and marine legislation, conservation and management, at local as well as at the highest international level. Ever since its inception Janette has been involved in various capacities with the Paternoster Project NPC, including facilitating the annual international conferences.
Dustin grew up in Paternoster, he is an exceptional young leader who not only excels academically, but cares deeply about young people. Brought up by a formidable mother, Esmerelda Coraizin, her sister Aniska, and the strong women of the community, he is currently working towards a Master’s degree in Education. Dustin teaches at Rietenbosch, a primary school in Cloetesville, Stellenbosch. As educational programme consultant he acts as pedagogical adviser to the volunteer teachers of the Paternoster Project NPC.
Hedwig, the new Paternoster Garden Manager, is a forager of note and possesses an intimate knowledge of indigenous plants, especially of the edible varieties. Hedwig is a board member of the Botanical Society of South Africa and the go-to person for chefs, food writers and plant historians. For the past year Hedwig has – assisted by the German volunteers, gardener Jeff Kruger and the children – succeeded in rehabilitating the garden at Hoopsig. The gardening sessions go beyond the plants, animated discussions areen couraged about healthy eating and best pest control practices.