GD News

GD’s Trust Invests In Early Childhood Development

The effects of the pandemic have been felt by everyone, but arguably none more so than those already most vulnerable. You may recall that a few years ago Great Domaines started a trust. Some of you reading this have very generously bid at one or more of our annual Paulée auctions in the past and purchased some special bottles, which were donated by our Great Domaines producers to assist us with raising funds. Our focus from the start has been to try and change lives, one at a time, by investing in children and their education.

Right at the beginning of lockdown, Jennie McGarvie, who runs PEN, contacted Derek our GM and told him about the hardships some of the caregivers and teachers she works with were going through. Following the announcement that South Africa was declaring a national state of disaster, all schools closed which meant no more work and therefore no income and food for these families.

PEN is responsible for the training of over 200 caregivers and teachers across 56 créches. These informal ECD centres are dedicated to the wellbeing of children from underprivileged backgrounds. Here, Jennie and her team endeavour to provide these children with a solid foundation for their education. Many of these caregivers are asylum seekers, single mothers – with no other form of income and support. The lockdown meant there was no means to support them. PEN relies on the generosity of donors and partners to keep the organisation going. By contributing a significant amount to PEN, the Great Domaines trust has managed to help PEN feed 300 families over a period of 2 months.

Phlogiston have kindly captured the story in a very moving video:

Great Domaines' trust invests in Early Childhood Development by supporting PEN during lockdown

We have already shared this video with a few customers who shared an interest in contributing further. If you are also able to, no matter the amount of money or way in which you would like to help, every little bit counts. We have therefore asked PEN to describe, in their own words, who they are and how we can all help:

“PEN believes in a world where each person’s inherent dignity is recognised and given access to develop into the person God intended them to be. To this vision, PEN holistically addresses the numerous challenges faced by vulnerable disenfranchised communities of South Africa.”

“For South Africa to have a viable, just future for all, it is essential that we invest in Early Childhood Development (ECD). The prolonged lockdown disrupted the revenue streams of teachers in the ECD. The members in the PEN ECD forum serve pre-lockdown vulnerable communities. So even with lockdown measures starting to relax, the turnaround time for the ECD forum will be prolonged as parents are behind on rent while still needing to buy food. Paying school fees is seen as a luxury few can afford. The net result is that those who are fostering the future hope of our nation (the teachers) are in desperate need for the most basics. Together, PEN and its partners are able to make meaningful impacts to the lives of those who are developing South Africa’s future. You can contribute too by donating directly to PEN here: or if you prefer to get in touch with PEN directly, you can reach out to them via social media (@PENignites) or email directly to