Dressed in their cute khaki school uniforms they learn, play, and engage in exciting activities such as music, arts and crafts at Hope Educare in 7de Laan.
The Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre opened its doors in February this year and was established by NGO Hope Southern Africa (HOSA ). The centre currently has 14 pupils and will be welcoming 25 more children for next year.
German Marco Spalke, from HOSA, who has been running community projects in 7de Laan for about two and a half years, said it had been an absolute pleasure working with the community.
“We aim to give our pupils quality education at the centre and so far they have grown and developed over the past year. Every child, despite their backgrounds deserve equal and good education,” he said.
Mr Spalke said the children were given a uniform and had a set daily schedule which included computer learning programmes, art and monthly excursions. “They have 12 outings a year. We take them to farms and fire stations. We think it is important for our children to explore the city,” he said.
Principal of the educare, Carmen Napolean, said the children are excited when they arrive in the morning and did not want to leave when it was time to go home. “It was challenging at first when the kids arrived, but as time passed they adjusted and have grown. We are welcoming children from outside 7de Laan, which includes Strandfontein Village,” she said.
She said the centre accommodates children between the ages of three and five.
Centre manager and 7de Laan resident Kathy Farosaid residents were supportive and protective of the centre. “It is used as a community centre too, we have women’s and men’s groups who meet on a Wednesday and Thursday and we have computer lessons for residents. We have not had one break-in since the centre was built, because residents are involved and aware of the work done at the centre,” she said.
When, on December 1 last year, 18 residents lost their homes in 7de Laan, as a fire swept through the area (“Raging fire consumes homes”, Plainsman, December 9 2015), the centre provided shelter for residents before their homes were rebuilt, said Ms Faro.
The residents of 7de Laan launched a book called Real Food, Real People in November to help raise funds for the construction of the centre. “It is wonderful to see how things are developing, and more importantly bringing the community together. Our children have learning opportunities and the adults are being empowered through programmes. If there are individuals who are addicted to drugs, we don’t turn them, we assist them transporting them to the rehab centres.
Contact Kathy on 071 974 2265 for more information.