Delivering Blankets to ECD Schools in Mfuleni

What an eye-opener today was.  I have seen plenty in my time but I was not prepared for today.  60 – 80 children being cared for in a wendy house sized shack and no ablutions.  And yet happy children being taught the right stuff.  A good top structure guiding teachers, but nowhere to go.  There is (more) work for us and I only saw the 4 that fall under the Mfuleni ECD Centre of about 40-odd ECD centres in Mfuleni.  The blankets were donated by the Union of Jewish Women.  Thanks to Gavin Schachat of Sea Point Rotary Club for putting us in touch.

The Mfuleni ECD Centre:

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The first “school”:

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Thin mattresses on the floor and then a number under 1 blanket and 6 smaller ones on a bed plus the stack of clothes in the corner.  25 kids in this room. Through the gate at the far end is the owner’s living quarters.
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The kids right next to the cooking apparatus.  Look at the artwork and stuff on the walls.  The teachers try hard under desperate circumstances.  The fan strapped to the ceiling.  The portable outside loos below.
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This 15 square metre room is classroom to 50 children !!!  (I paced it out)  This is the only outside area for the teachers to play with the children.  She was playing a lovely game with them teaching them colours in the process.

Next was  ……………

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The left half of this building cannot be used until it is fixed as the roof could collapse at any time.  See the picture below showing the roof structure and holes for rain to come through.  This is the only building zoned for education and not also someone’s home and yet half of it cannot be used.
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Next: Little Star Educare Centre

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The girl’s loos and then the boy’s loos.  In the open air between the two buildings.

The next one…….

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All the teachers go to the Mfuleni ECD Centre for regular upgrading and to access supplies (puzzles, games, books, etc) and swap the supplies around.  This is a pretty good system where each school does not to have the full kit but enough to go on for a few days.
Talking to Ali afterwards, one of their big problems is getting the Council to zone areas as educational and not residential or provide educationally zoned land.  Then to get the Department of Social Development to certify the Schools.  Once this happens then investors can help build decent structures and the teachers can start receiving subsidies for the children.  An old story that we have often heard.  These teachers are working for a pittance too, if they get paid by the parents of the children.

There is a lot that we can do once they get the Council and Department problems sorted out.  There are also already other Rotary clubs locally and abroad (UK and France) involved and who we could get to partner in this venture.

Biffy Danckwerts
Wynberg Rotary Club
30 July 2013

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