Donations and fundraising to the GVI Charitable Trust have now funded the opening of the new Edu-care Hope Centre in Cape Town South Africa.
The centre begins to answer a significant area of concern in the Westlake community, that of large numbers of children not attending a nursery or school and spending the days on the streets. These children are extremely vulnerable to being exploited and abused by others as well as the physical dangers of being on the streets unsupervised. Neglect in the early years of a child’s life is often the start of a downward spiral into a number of social issues such as unemployment, substance abuse and criminality. With these aspects in mind the primary goal of the Hope Centre Edu-care is to get children off the streets and into a positive, motivating environment. The secondary goals are to provide a foundation of learning and development that will stand these children in good stead for future success at school and in life.
Conscious of over committing and damaging community relations the centre will start with one class of 10 children aged 3-5 with the intention of taking on a second class of 10 within the next 2 months. These children have been selected by our local partner Cynthia Jacobs who knows the community very well and has chosen the children she knows to be the most vulnerable and in need. The families will not have to pay anything for their children to attend which is a unique aspect to this centre as all other nurseries in the area charge around R200pm. She has met with the parents of each child who are extremely happy and thankful for this opportunity for their children.
Funds raised so far through the GVI Charitable Trust will allow us to run the centre for 12 months, during this time we will work to assist our local partners to become self sufficient with the implementation of fundraising schemes which will allow the centre to grow and flourish past the initial 12 months. Funds have been used for:
Rental of the property. The property s basic but sufficient and has great scope for future development such as establishing a vegetable garden to help the centre become self sufficient. The facilities currently consist of a small wooden structure which is divided in two providing two classrooms, both rooms have electricity. There is also a bathroom with running water and drainage and a storage container for the safe storage of our equipment. As the money paid for rent is going to the church it is also going to help them with their goals of assisting with youth development in Westlake which is an added benefit.
A monthly budget for food and resources. As the children selected come from very low income families it is likely they will have a very basic diet with limited nutritional value. These funds will be used to provide each child with two meals a day, breakfast and lunch, as well as at least one extra piece of fruit a day. There will also be a small sum each month for teaching/lesson resources such as paper, crayons, etc.
A staff salary for a member of the local community. There are extremely high levels of unemployment in South Africa so job creation is always an objective. We have hired a local person to assist with the general running of the centre so the volunteer teachers can focus on the education and development of the children. We will train this person on how to run a centre such as this which will contribute to their own personal development and if they show interest we would like to get them involved in some of the teaching too with a long term view of having local staff employed as teachers with GVI volunteers acting as assistants.
A set up budget. The classrooms were an empty shell so we have used this budget to begin turning them into positive environments conducive to learning. We have purchased chairs and tables for 20 children as well as mattresses for the afternoon nap time. We have purchased plates, bowls, spoons etc for meal times as well as cleaning equipment. We have kept some of this budget aside for ongoing expenses when necessary.
After a number of weeks of planning, The Hope Centre Edu-care was launched on the 15th of March 2011 with a successful community day. The 10 children and their parents as well as the children from Jabulani and Ibis nurseries attended along with the local ward counsellor, a number of community leaders, representatives from the church, Shayle Havemann our Regional Director and the GVI Cape Town office staff. It was a great day enjoyed by all and had a significant and important effect on community relations which we have felt the benefit of already with invitations to join the next meeting of the community leaders.
Moving forward there is lots of enthusiasm for developing the centre, including building a second classroom container which would allow 4 extra classes and keep 40 children off the streets, renovating the open space into a play area with Jungle Gym, a vegetable garden to provide food for daily meals and a sustainable income and planting trees and bushes to make the centre look more inviting and an attractive asset for the community as a whole.
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