The Little Optimist Trust

Founded in 2017 by Greg Bertish.
Our aim is to Inspire Kids to SURVIVE and THRIVE

Optimism is a potent health tonic and through our programs, sailing therapy, talks, books, and documentary movie, we inspire kids to be optimistic despite their present situation.

In partnership with our key sponsors, we fundraise and assist to renovate and refurbish pediatric health care, primary care, and education facilities.

Our main beneficiaries are vulnerable children, be they marginalized economically or have compromised health.

We are a registered TRUST, certified Public Benefit Organization and registered NPO. All donations are eligible for a  Section 18a Tax Certificate and The Little Optimist Trust is a B-BBEEE Level 1 Contributor. 

PBO Number: 930060059

NPO Number: 228- 978 NPO

Trust Number: IT002355/2016(C)

The Academy

The Trust has offered ad hoc sailing therapy in multiple locations, schools, clubs and hospitals around South Africa since 2018.  In 2021 The Little Optimist Trust was awarded a partnership and grant with Paris 2024 Olympics/ Impact 2024. This grant has enabled us to open The Little Optimist Sailing Academy at Battery Park in the V&A Waterfront.

We have created and run unique Sailing therapy programs and courses that we offer at no cost to marginalised children across South Africa. We work with orphanages, under-resourced schools, children’s homes, hospitals, and multiple other NGOs that promote children’s wellbeing.

We now offer paid-for programs and courses for children. These courses introduce children to sailing and teach them about their environment, ocean health, and water safety. Each paid-for course helps to sponsor a child who has no means.

We offer fun experiences and programs for children aged 2 to 16, as well as children’s parties and corporate team building events.

Trust Sponsors

Partners / Sponsors


Erica (Manager & Educator)

Erica is originally from Pretoria and comes from a family of educators. She holds a BEd Honours degree in Learner Support (Special Needs Education) and a Montessori Early Childhood Diploma. Erica has 13 years of teaching experience and was the principal of a Montessori school for three years. She has a passion for education development and taught in Mamelodi township before making a move, in 2016, to the rural Eastern Cape. As the Education Programmes Manager for Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, she facilitated accredited teacher training programmes, developed various ECD centres, a community home visit programme and afterschool centres. She moved to Cape Town in 2019 to manage the Year Beyond Youth Development Programme in collaboration with the Western Cape Government, Department of Culture and Sport. Erica was also a part-time lecturer at Montessori Early Learning Foundation and compiled a training course for ECD practitioners at the Children’s Trust Campaign. She loves to hike and is now hooked on sailing too.

Amir (Head Instructor)

I have 8 years sailing experience and 6 years high performance sailing experience aswell as ocean experience.
I’m a qualified instructor and have being working with children since I matriculated 4 years ago. I taught locally and coach competitively and had the opportunity to teach sailing abroad, USA 🇺🇸
Since I started sailing I fell in love with the sport which is now my workplace , I practically eat sleep sailing ⛵️
I’ve had so many opportunities and a lot more to come within sailing which I’m grateful for, being able to teach and be a role model to these kids, empowering them to do much more than the situation they might face, from similar backgrounds and some in worse and in difficulty situations brings joy to my heart ❤️ , if I didn’t love what I do, I wouldn’t be doing it 🙏

Shane (Head instructor)

I have 8 years sailing experience. I love working with children as they bring positive energy and such great passion which wants you to help and teach them to take part in the activities set out.

It's a really great sight to see such happy faces knowing you did something great and optimistic by leaving a positive message, at the end of it all children are the future ❤


I have 4 years of sailing and ocean experience. l am sailor and a coach.
l do racing in different areas and places every season around the Western Cape.

I love helping kids and showing them something different, like sailing! Sailing is an uncommon sport in the area I grew up in.

I love being involved and uplift our youth and show them that there is better things then gangsterism and drugs.


I am a young mom! I absolutely love children and only want the best for them.

I am quite new to sailing but absolutely love it!

I have sailing experience and ocean experience, I have rigged up sailing boats and sailed the sea.

I have gained confidence in my experience sailing therefore I would love to help kids and those with special needs to learn and have the experience sailing.