A Year to Remember!

News from Vulinqondo 2019

2019 has been a very busy year at the Day Care Centre. Every year that it is open is another year be grateful for the generosity of our incredible donors and supporters of the centre both in South Africa, Denmark and further afield.

The creche is functioning very well.  The principal Thembisile has worked very hard this year and has got a good handle on the administration. Ian has been encouraging her to take on more of the interaction with the DSD so that she can really manage all aspects of the centre. This means that Ian has been able to release some responsibility and allow the centre to start to become self managing.

The centre continues to charge parents who can afford to pay R50 a month for each child - a small amount but it really makes a difference.  At this time only around 8 parents can afford to pay and the rest are further subsidised by the generosity of the Love Arica Youth Donors. Your funds truly help those in need and enable children to be fed and educated to a school entry level far beyond what would otherwise be done. 

New Classrooms

2019 kicked off with the donation of 2 brand new classrooms and a fence around the site. These were donated by Eskom and Camden Power Station and truly transformed the site and brought it into the 21st Century! The transformation that this donation caused means that the older children can complete their lessons separately to the younger children, the site looks official and it has become the village meeting place for many meetings making it the hub of the community.  

The Old School Building
New School Buildings 2019
Odoo • Image and Text

At the beginning of the year, the starting age was dropped to 2 years after the community requested an extended service. This meant that the number of children attending for the year was increased to more than 40. 

This did place some pressure on the finances in terms of food provision but the daycare centre continued providing a rich and varied menu 5 days a week, 4 times a day during term time.

Breakfast - Oat or pap porridge with milk

Morning Snack - Fruit (1/2 apple, a banana)

Lunch - Hot meal of corned beef/pilchards/chicken stew with veg & pap

Afternoon snack - yoghurt or bread & peanut butter

In the middle of the year (winter here) the temperatures can drop and during these times the attendance at the centre tends to fall too. In the past the centre has stayed open all year round - January - Decemberregardless of the holidays but this year the temperatures were so cool that many parents could not dress their children warmly enough to send them out in it. Attendance in June & July was so poor that it was not worth opening in the holidays and for the first time, the winter holidays were observed at the centre.

We are looking into a way to heat the classrooms that will not damage their structural integrity so that the children can still attend and benefit from the regular meals.

GRCT & e'pap

In July last year we were visited by nominees from GRCT (Garden Route Children's Trust) a charity based in the UK that help to alleviate poverty in South Africa. One of the ways they do it is by providing supplies of e'pap to schools and organisations on and around the Garden Route. We made contact with them, applied for funding and in July had our first delivery!
Have you heard of E'Pap? It is a specially formulated dry product that when mixed provides "24 micronutrients- and four macro-nutrients (starch, fibre, protein and fat)* that maximise absorption and bio-efficacy in the body. This means that when you eat e’Pap it will be absorbed into your body more effectively and so making sure that you stay fit and strong!"
Now that the children have been eating the pap for a few months we are applying to be able to give it to the older children who catch the bus to school to help them with their concentration.

Gogo with the e'pap and new bowls!

Graduation

Some 15 learners graduated in December to primary school! There was a party with music and party bags and the graduates wore caps and gowns loaned by a local school! It is always such a joy to see how the children have grown.

Odoo • Text and Image
Christmas was very busy and the children were treated in so many ways we had students from Nederland Park Secondary School (@npss) visit and bring some Christmas spirit and they brought a very special guest along with them!

They handed out toys and sweets and brought lunch for all the children and then stayed to sing songs and play games! It was a lovely day and all of the children were delighted with their gifts!

The local rotary group also included Vulinqondo in their Christmas giving.  They donated lego sets to all the creche children as part of their Christmas party. 

Our annual Christmas Dinner was a little different this year! Both Ian and the regular volunteers were overseas in December so it was down to a totally new set of people to help out! We were thrilled to receive all of the food and funds that we needed so that the day went off without a hitch and we all had a lovely morning! 

We received 2 sheep and 2 50KG bags of mealie meal from 2 farmers, 125 of the 250 packets of sweets from another member of the church and the rest of the funds were donated by various families and individuals in South Africa, Denmark and the UK.

The fires were set at 7 am on the 25th and huge cauldrons with meat and vegetables were set on top to cook for the next 4 hours. Some people from Ermelo donated clothing and we could give each family 3 items each while we were waiting for the food to cook. One of the households near to where we were serving played music and there was singing and dancing and the children played.

The whole day was very festive and it was a pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful atmosphere