Restoring Dignity | ‘Little Optimist’ is on a humble quest to optimise bathrooms at special needs school Image: Cape Town Sport Photography

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Greg Bertish (51) from Kommetjie, Western Cape was diagnosed with Endocarditis, which is caused by a bacteria that attacks the heart valves. He was only 30 years old.

Tests revealed that his heart was swollen 30% bigger than normal, and his aortic valve was destroyed and almost non-existent. He was rushed in for emergency Open Heart Surgery and the Ross Procedure.

In April 2016 Greg Bertish sailed an 8 foot Children’s Optimist dinghy around the Cape of Storms. He crossed False Bay, rounded Cape Point and headed for Langebaan Lagoon on the wild West Coast. His 200-kilometre journey matched the 200 days he had spent in hospital fighting life-threatening heart infections.

Little Optimist Trust

After Greg’s life-changing adventure, he founded The Little Optimist Trust, and penned a children’s book about a little believer with a HUGE heart, hoping to teach kids that being small, sick, poor or different is OK. And prove that they too can survive and thrive, get better, be better and follow their passions and dreams.

To date, The Little Optimist Trust has raised over R3.2 Million rand and has impacted more than 500 000 children.

Optimising Bathrooms for Special Needs children

This October, The Little Optimist Trust is taking on a humble quest, to uplift Astra School, an institution for 300 physically and mentally disabled learners between the age of 5 and 18 in Montana, Cape Town.

The school’s hostel is in dire need of beautification and an upgrade, as more than 45 students use the rundown facilities. Bathing is a challenge for wheelchair users in particular, as the showers are not in working order, and the students are currently unable to shower while seated.


Hoping to raise R70 000 to launch phase 1 of the renovation project, which will allow the organisation to purchase the building materials needed to upgrade two bathrooms, The Little Optimist Trust has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy.


Since the launch of the project, more than R20 000 has been raised through kind contributions from 13 donors.

“With this initiative, not only will we finally have working bathrooms again, but this will bring love, hope and positivity to these kids who need this more than anything. Thank you for helping us to restore our dignity” – says Melanie Mabotha, Principal of Astra School.

Students from Astra School.

In collaboration with Italtile Ceramics and Italtile Foundation, The Little Optimist Trust has thus far raised over R100 000 to start their project and has received tiles, baths, and basins to the value of R133 000 from Italtile stores across the country. 

“With additional support, we are optimistic that we will get all hands on deck to start our project in October 2022. We hope that you will join us in making a meaningful difference in the lives of these wonderful children, by providing them with the facilities and opportunities that so many of us take for granted.” – says Greg Bertish, Founder of The Little Optimist Trust

Support this campaign on BackaBuddy:

Alternatively, donate Via Snapscan:

*All donated funds will be paid into The Little Optimist Trust account which will then be paid to contractors for building materials. 

Donors are eligible for a section 18A certificate issued by The Little Optimist Trust on request.

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