Nolufefe Educare Centre in Philippi was declared structurally unsafe in October 2016. Not meeting the government’s minimum health and safety requirements, the 89 children were temporarily removed to other premises.
The importance of early childhood learning has been somewhat overshadowed of late, with much of the focus on tertiary education. However, the experience a young student has starting out in the world, will shape their future. “The first 1000 days of a child’s life are incredibly important in their development” stated Ian Robertson, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont at the re-opening of the centre less than four months after its forced closure.
“We are thrilled [therefore] that this overhaul means that 110 learners in the Philippi area are already enrolled to receive proper pre-school education at Nolufefe as the new school year starts.”
Proud of these achievements, Pumeza Mahobe, project manager for Injongo Project, an initiative by the Rotary Club of Claremont, and who oversaw the renovations, happily remarked; “Now they have a new school and the teachers [too] are so happy to be teaching here.”
However, it is not just about structural restoration. A key priority for the Injongo Project is to ensure that the teachers receive proper skills training as part of a holistic approach to improving early childhood development (ECD). Robertson is keen to pint out the importance of working in partnership with communities, causes and corporates, such as the case with Injongo and Lewis Group, who worked together to ensure that the R1.4 million that has been invested into Nolufefe will provide a safe and pleasant environment conducive to learning.
The educare centre is the 13th one to be physically upgraded and the 48th one to benefit from the Injongo Project, bringing the total amount invested to R 13.5 million: it is the biggest project of its kind in South Africa.
Structurally unsound and unfit for providing education, the Nolufefe Educare Centre needed to be shut down. However, thanks to the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Injongo Project, made possible by the generous support from the Lewis Group, the school has been transformed into a safe and secure place for pre-school learners as they start the 2017 school-year with zest.