Back in August 2013 we reported on the building work that began at Ekhaya Lothando pre-school in Masiphumelele. Known locally as the Home of Love the pre-school refurbishment was one of Masicorp’s biggest projects last year. Last Friday the completed pre-school was formally handed back over to the community. As we stood in the summer sun with children playing in their new modern facilities it seemed a million miles away from the mud and rubble that surrounded the old building last winter. Many thanks are due to everyone who helped take the site from the open ground on the left of the picture below to the impressive classrooms on the right.
None of this would have been possible without help from the Friends of the African Child Education (FACE) from the UK who raised an incredible £42,000, in a little more than a year to refurbish the building. After numerous fundraising activities, which have been well documented in blogs on these pages, the group finally made it to Cape Town and spent their first few days putting the finishing touches on the building. Once everything was completed the group assembled together with the Masicorp team to hand over the crèche.
Seen here is the principal, Priscilla, with her daughter and Rion, our man in Masiphumelele, who provides an invaluable link between the community and our volunteer work force. Priscilla was a little overwhelmed with everything but was extremely grateful for all the work that has been done on site. Crucially she is a qualified pre-school teacher and together with the upgraded infrastructure at the school – including classrooms, fully functioning toilet block, kitchen and food preparation area – the school has everything in place to meet the core requirements of the DSD [Department of Social Development] registration process. Once registered the pre-school will receive a state subsidy for each child and its sustainable future is assured. Currently only three of the 28 pre-schools in Masiphumelele meet the standard required for registration, which emphasizes just how significant this project has been for Priscilla and the 34 children she looks after. The paperwork and administrative tasks required to get there are now the focus of Masicorp’s activity for the school.
It was finally left to the FACE group to deliver a few speeches of their own and tell the fascinating story of how they came to work together and fund this project. Much revolves around the organisation of Nick Jenkins (seen here), who took the project on as a celebration of a significant birthday. The team have enjoyed a well-earned break in the Wineland’s and Camps Bay and will have enjoyed the warm weather that we are enjoying at the end of the summer. We cannot thank everyone at FACE enough and look forward to staying in touch with them in the future as Ekhaya Lothando goes from strength to strength.