A house for the children
The Day care centre offers the working mothers (often single income) an
opportunity to go off to work early in the morning and return late in the afternoon, leaving their little ones in our care. Some children are left with Tembisa, one of our employers, from 6 o'clock
onwards in her little shack. She then brings the children to us at 9 o'clock, where they get fed and taken care off by Elsie and Vivian in the Nursery. At 3 o'clock, Tembisa takes the children back
to the settlement and looks after them from her little humble home until their mothers fetch them at around 6 o'clock.
The day care facility consists of three separate units, nursery, kindergarden and youth facility, each with their own space.
The NURSERY accommodates between 12-20 very young (0-3 years) children and is run by Elsie and Vivian, both untrained mothers who are currently undergoing in house training . In the Nursery the little ones are kept clean as far as possible, as we do not have running hot water and must heat water on the gas stove. The young ones need nappies changed and help with feeding.
All these tasks are executed efficiently, while the children also learn basic skills and most of all are experiencing an immensely loving and caring environment. They play in the sandpit or ride on scooters while others climb the tree or play on the swings.
In the KINDERGARDEN we have a group of children (up to 20) who range from
3-7 years. Depending on the amount of children attending, we either split this group up into two (if more than 10/12) or work with them together. Our main teacher, Zizipho Pama, is currently
attending distance training in Cape Town to become a Kindergarden teacher. She shares her learning with the other women and gives advice where she can. Zizipho lives on a farm nearby and commutes to
the project daily, walking at least 5-6 km per day.
The children in the Kindergarden start their day with breakfast followed by circle time, when Zizipho tells a story and they sing and dance. Then they go on to creative activities like clay modelling, drawing, painting etc. Before lunch they play outside in the sandpit or on our collapsed tree that serves as a jungle gym. After lunch the children rest and are taken back home at 3 o'clock.
Our feeding scheme serves 2 hot meals per day - cooked porridge for
breakfast and a good Lunch. Koleka Matiwane is our cook and her restaurant experience with food is an enormous benefit for all of us - yum, yum, yum… Every day William fetches our milk donated by our
local dairy, Mooivallei. We have a vegetable garden where we try and grow our own vegetables, but some do still have to be bought until the garden is really up and running.
With the very high price hikes on Petrol, gas and therefore the overall food prices, the feeding scheme is an essential aspect of the project as it is in some children's cases the only food they will eat for the day. The healthy and wholesome food we serve has made a substantial and noticeable difference in the children's health and we hope to avoid disease and illness by continuing the high-nutritional food we serve.
The YOUTH FACILITY is run on different levels at different times of the
year. During term time, when most of the children go to school, approximately 6-12 non-school going children between the ages of 7-15 attend. As we are not a registered school we are not officially
allowed to teach children formally, but assist them in basic literacy training and general skills development.
We start the day with breakfast and then normally do something physical like gardening, stilt-walking, play a ball game. As some of these children are illiterate and have severe learning difficulties, we focus on crafts, drawing and practical skills, but due to a lack of experienced and trained staff, this facility needs much attention to develop the literacy aspect more.
The youth activities take another dimension in the school holidays when attendance figures rise and the bulk of the youth from the settlement attends daily (25-30 children). During this time we do crafts, beadwork, art, dancing, drumming and many other exciting activities most of these children are deprived of in our schools.
The YOUTH FACILITY provides a platform for the youth to explore themselves and develop creative skills and creates a safe and loving environment for those who attend.
We are fortunate to have had many volunteers visiting our project and lending a hand with these activities, as this facility is an inspiration for all the children and is no doubt an essential factor that keeps them off the street, out of mischief and away from drugs. We are in fact very proud of all our children as they show very little anti-social behaviour and within the Bonnievale community this fact is slowly being recognised, as our youth have appeared in public on several occasions for their drumming performances and are growing in popularity.