It really does take a village to raise a child, so this Mother’s Day we’d like to salute the incredible women who champion early childhood development in communities across South Africa.
Like Khomi Maluleke, who provides a home away from home to 109 children under the age of five at Sweet Home Daycare Centre in the rural Limpopo village of Xigalo. Khomi founded the centre twenty years ago, but faced many challenges maintaining it. In 2017, we partnered with her to offer training for the teachers, plant a vegetable garden to provide healthy meals and stock up on educational toys for the children.
Watch this video to find out more about the amazing role Khomi plays in the lives of the children at Sweet Home.
Buyi Mdinisi founded Khulakahle Preschool in Groutville, an informal settlement in KwaDukuza, north of Durban five years ago. Here she provides a homely environment for young children to learn and play safely while their parents work.
At one point, however, Buyi had considered closing down the school because running it without support had become a huge challenge. However, she persevered and is still going strong today and is in the process of applying to the Department of Social Development for a state subsidy for each of the 21 children in her care.
We partnered with Buyi to upgrade the school, provide the teachers with valuable training and implement a feeding scheme. All of this has ensured that the children of Groutville now have access to a safe, stimulating learning environment in which they are able to thrive.
Michelle da Costa and her team at Oliver’s Village are spreading hope in the Zenzele community in Daveyton through the establishment of a soup kitchen, early childhood development centre, learning centre for high school students and a brand new community food garden.
We joined forces with Food & Trees for Africa to assist Michelle in creating a food garden, which recently yielded a bumper harvest, including 137kg of butternut, 70kg of tomatoes 40kg of beetroot and 4kg of green pepper.
“In a case like this, where there’s a lot of surplus produce, we give away the vegetables to community members,” says Michelle.
Read more about the work being done by Michelle and her team.
Charmaine Louw founded Heavenly Toddlers in 2005 in a zinc structure attached to her house in Avian Park, just outside Worcester in the Western Cape.
Over the years the one-roomed structure became increasingly dilapidated, but Charmaine couldn’t afford to close her school because the need for childcare in Avian Park is so great.
Today, with support from Shoprite, Charmaine’s children are being cared for in a brand new building equipped with much-needed educational materials. The children are also guaranteed a nutritious daily meal from the Lunchbox Fund whilst Charmaine and her teaching assistants are receiving some valuable training.
We cannot help but applaud Charmaine’s dedication and resilience!
Community champion and preschool principal, Noxolo Xuma, founded Ndamase Preschool, located in the rural Eastern Cape village of Phepheni, in 1995.
In 2016 Ndamase suffered significant damage to its buildings as a result of two storms that tore through the Mfundisweni region.
“The roof was badly damaged, walls were cracked and floor tiles came loose as a result of the storms. I worried about the children’s safety in the buildings, but I couldn’t close the school and let my learners down,” Noxolo recalls.
When we heard about Noxolo’s challenge, we immediately partnered with the Centre for Early Childhood Development (CECD) to assist in rebuilding the school. We not only ensured that the buildings are safe, but that the school is also fitted with a fully functional kitchen.
“Our neighbours are keeping a closer eye on the school so that if anyone tries to break in or to damage the buildings, they will act to protect the school.”
And while it takes a village to raise a child, Noxolo’s commitment to Ndamase reminds us that sometimes it takes a preschool to bring a village together.
This Mother’s Day we’d like to say to every Khomi, Buyi, Michelle, Charmaine and Noxolo working to make our country a safer, welcoming, more beautiful place… we see you. And we thank you.