A Very Big Bambanani Thank You to Eskom and their Partners for their Generosity!
On the 26th July 2019, a group of people converged on the Vulinqondo daycare centre, Bambanani Village, Skaaprus. There were officials from Gert Sibande district, delegates from the Department of Social Development, VOC Radio, members from the community and from Eskom as well as the guest of honour, Mr Johannes Myanga.
They were all there to see how Eskom's generous donation has impacted the children and people of Bambanani Village, Skaaprus and to get to know the young recipients of the generous donation a little better.
We heard how the idea of the donation came about, of how important education is to the future and success of our nation, and about how success comes with consistent and thoughtful support over time.
The children entertained us with some delightful singing and many positive words were spoken over the daycare centre, the children, teachers and the community.
Food was also provided for the 100 or more community members who had come to enjoy the event.
The community gave Mr Myanga & Mr Gumede in the form of a beautiful framed aerial picture of the centre as a token of their appreciation.
We could also use the opportunity to show them the work that is happening in the cooperative and we were able to give a small impression of the efforts that the community are undertaking to work their way out of poverty.
Sometime in 2018, the daycare centre came to the attention of Mr Pilot Gumede as he was looking for a worthy cause for Eskom to donate to. Through a friend, he came to Skaaprus and saw a need in the daycare centre - for the old mud and stick building to be replaced with a new one. He approached Ian to see how to go about this and Ian mentioned the need for 2 classrooms rather than the single one proposed. It took a few more months but at the beginning of February, the old structure was dismantled and ground cleared for the delivery of the new double classroom.
A palisade fence was also erected to replace the chicken wire one and the whole area now looks very smart as well as providing a safer, cleaner environment for the children that will last long into the future.
A Brief History of the Daycare Centre Building
To get a sense of the difference that the new building has brought to the community you need to understand what has gone before it.
Ian was brought to the community in 2010 by members of the Ermelo East Dutch Reformed Church. He saw the absolute poverty the people were living in and felt a strong desire to help.
He asked the community what they needed and they responded with the idea of a daycare centre for the pre-school children. In addition, Ian felt strongly that these children must be fed and that this would play a key part in the work.
When the daycare centre opened its doors in early 2012, 30 children were signed up. In the intervening years, some 150 children have graduated to primary school from Vulinqondo Daycare Centre and today more than 40 are registered to attend daily.
In 2016 Ian's daughter who lives in Denmark, set up an NPO to raise money in Denmark and support the children and community in South Africa. Love Africa Youth was born and they have been supporting the community ever since.
The structure of the building was built in the traditional way - with sticks and mud making up the walls, and this was then painted. Unfortunately, this method, while cheap, needs a lot of maintenance and over the years the walls need constant upkeep to prevent them from crumbling.
The ground for the planned daycare centre was given to Ian to use by the community. Ian cleared much of the ground himself but was also offered a day of help from a friend who brought in a digger to speed the ground clearing up a bit.
The daycare centre was opened in January. The original classrooms were built the traditional way with sticks, mud and wood. Around 30 children were signed up on the first day and were kept in 2 classrooms depending on their ages. Over the next few years, a kitchen and sick room were added and a chicken wire fence was put up.
The difference between what was in place last year and now is unbelievable! The classrooms were installed in late January, almost 7 years to the day since the centre first opened! A Palisade fence was erected and the difference that it has made on the community is vast. It is not only benefitting the children but is also regularly used as a community meeting point.
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