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PRESS RELEASE: World Toilet Day – a persistent concern

Access to sanitation and proper ablution facilities is a global issue, with more than 2.5-billion people not having access to a clean toilet. According to a report prepared for World Toilet Day, 1.1-billion people have to defecate in the open due to lack of access to any ablution facilities.

BLA-Toilets-250 In outh Africa, diarrhoea is the greatest killer of children under five according to a report on global      sanitation commissioned by the United Nations. To mark World Toilet Day, which is held globally  on 19 November every year, Cape Town based NGO Breadline Africa will open a new container toilet  at an Educare Centre in Mbekweni.

 Until recently, the pre-school had two open potties in an alleyway, to cater for the ablution needs of  more than 50 children in their care, ranging from six months to six-years-old.

 “One can only imagine the lack of dignity and the risk of illness for these little ones. Without the  basics of hygiene, running water and proper ablution facilities, the children of Inkwenkwezi were at  risk of picking up a number of diseases,” Project Officer for Breadline Africa, Edna Titus said.

In light of this issue and Breadline Africa’s focus on children, we provided the pre-school with hand basins, three toilets for the boys and three for the girls fitted into a reconverted shipping container,” Titus said. “As part of World Toilet Day, we have been teaching the children how to use the flush toilets and most importantly why it is important to wash their hands regularly.”

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Breadline Africa launches 51st Mandela Day Library

Lujecweni Primary School – 11 November 2014

Flagstaff, Eastern Cape.

 Lujecweni location in Flagstaff, Eastern Cape is a traditionally rural community and Lujecweni Junior Secondary School, located in this community, is a home away from home for over 400 learners from grades R to 9. Mr. Msweli, the principal of the school, commended the community for always showing support and acknowledgement to it members when there is achievement and success and today was certainly filled with support as about 150 community members attended the launch.

The state owned company sponsoring this Mandela Day Library was Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS). Mr. Nesengani from the office of the CEO, gave an impassioned speech about a rights based approach to development, where communities and it children are enabled to take responsibility and move themselves forward. Breadline Africa shares a similar value proposition and welcomes further investment from ATNS as a partner.

During the launch ceremony, Mr. Msweli spoke of the long history of the school. Established in the 1970’s, he said that the persistence of individuals contributed significantly in making the school a success in the midst of a troubled environment. The commitment and spirit of the people since then has carried through to today. Ms. Thoko Budaza, provincial lead for the Soul City Institute and a partner to Breadline Africa, spoke of the excellent work the school has done in learner development, a sure sign of poised educators and strong leadership. The Department of Basic Education attended as well, several officials from district and circuit level.

A partnership between Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which started in 2011, is now moving into the next 50 Mandela Day Libraries. This exciting collaboration began with an idea, to build an impactful and sustainable initiative that would live into Madiba’s legacy and connect directly with his passion for education. At Breadline Africa we are proud to be a part of this journey. Driving back from the school to Cape Town and reflecting on the day, I feel affirmed that we are on the right track.

 

 

Banareng Day Care Centre Container Handover

Rikhotso Village, Limpopo

22 October, 2014

On the morning of Wednesday 22 October, as we drove into Rikhotso village, located in between Giyani and Tzaneen in the Limpopo province, we struggled to find Banareng Day Care Centre and worried we would be late for the 10am starting time for the launch. Had it not been for the balloons that were strategically tied to trees and other landmarks to guide and lead us to the heart of the village where all the excitement was bubbling in preparing for a festive mid-morning event, we would have certainly been late.

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The new containers; an ablution block, a kitchen, and two classrooms stood out in the village maze. The women, wearing their colourful traditional attire arrived gradually in anticipation of the festivities. Several other women were standing by the three-legged iron cast pots, working their magic and preparing a feast for all the guests on open fire.

As Breadline Africa continues to support children to reach their full potential, it is obvious that being a teacher isn’t easy; it takes patience, experience and knowledge that often comes from lessons learnt by trial. Most importantly the teachers perform better when they receive the necessary support as witnessed by the parents, community members, the local headman, and representatives from Lewis Stores, Pick n Pay and Boxers Supermarkets, who all have in various ways, supported John Letsoalo, the Founder and Principal of Banareng Day Care Centre.

In all the speeches of the day, speakers  referred to John as a respected, spirited man who never gives up and refuses to hear the word ‘no’. It is through his vision, his persistence and perseverance that has allowed John to be the success he is today and through his belief in the children and work hard, he has gone to great lengths to ensure they receive the best, be it education or any other need.  This was obvious from the small group of extremely disciplined children who sang a couple of songs for the guests.

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On this occasion, we were accompanied by two of our International Board members: Mr Tony Smyth and the Chairlady, Mrs Louise Seligman. Mrs Seligman expressed great pleasure to be among the crowd on such a celebratory event. The gratitude from Rikhotso community was obvious, the praises endless and the joy deeply encompassing.

The Department of Basic Education was present at the event, and the representative was delighted to be visiting the centre for the first time. He mentioned the significance of the Educare Centre in building the community and promised to be more present in going forward. This is a promise we hope will materialize into future benefits for the pre-school as the benefits of such a partnership would be far-reaching and ensure its sustainability as a centre of academic excellence.

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Immediately following the speeches, there was the ribbon cutting, song and dance and plenty of food.

Banareng Day Care Centre is the seventh container project to be launched in the year that Breadline Africa celebrates 21 years.

 

Breadline Africa launches 50th Mandela Day Library

Qibi Primary School – 15 October 2014

Ha-Sethunya, Free State.

October the 15th 2014 marked the launched of the 50th Mandela Day Library, a significant milestone for Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The Mandela Day Libraries project began in 2011 and neither organisation would have imagined it turning into such a great success over such a short period.

More than just having supported 50 under-resourced primary schools all over South Africa with a library facility, the Mandela Day Libraries Project has grown in partnerships as well as access to great reading materials, training content and literacy development activity. We aim to inspire a love of reading among children who come from environment were reading culture is rare and we are well on our way. With a grassroots and community development approach to literacy development, we can only grow our offering in a sustainable and impact way, ultimately having a tremendous impact on literacy scores in a country in desperate need.

Today, Qibi Primary School was the recipient, the first of three libraries sponsored by Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS). The partnership between Breadline Africa and ATNS began in 2012 and now we celebrate their sustainable investment in education.

The 5th library to be launched in the Free State, Qibi Primary School is a shining example of the kind of school we invest in. The Principal, Ms Lipali, leads a dedicated and enthused staff and has established partnerships with a number of organisations which contribute to the development and progress of the learners at the school. Some of them include Save the Children, and the Kagiso Trust. Today the school celebrated the start of a new a long term partnership with Breadline Africa and the Soul City Institute.

There are 469 learners enrolled at Qibi Primary this year, a number which has doubled since the school started in 1979. The school has a long history of strong leadership and they is no doubt that Ms. Lipali has the energy and commitment to grow the school and learners into champions of change.

None of this would have been possible without a shared vision with  Air Traffic and Navigation Systems (ATNS ). Poised to develop a skilled and capable workforce, their efforts in being good corporate citizens will remain focused on education. They are invested in children and today was a sure display of their values.

 

Breadline Africa hosts librarian training for 50 librarians in an effort to inspire a love of reading in South Africa’s children

“ sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom ”_Nelson Mandela.

Library Training

From October the 6th – 9th, Breadline Africa hosted librarian training at the Soul City Institute Training Venue in Johannesburg. 50 librarians participated in the training which means that over 42 000 primary school going children across South Africa will benefit from the training, skills and knowledge transfer.

This year, Breadline Africa expanded the content offering from previous years to ensure that the librarians are able to include more literacy development activity into the space. The expanded offering included storytelling, group and paired reading and reading club development.

“The 2014 programme contains an array of exciting new ways in which children and communities can be exposed or brought into school-based libraries in ways that develops a culture of reading,” says Jade Orgill, Breadline Africa Project Manager. “As facilitators and librarians, we need to inspire a love of reading in a way that has a positive impact on literacy at primary school level – this year’s four day programme did exactly that.”

The programme also included training elements from library organisation, activity resources for teachers and librarians, utilizing the library as a supporting structure to the curriculum, community literacy, library budgets, etc.

Attending the training for the first time this year, Carol Odendaal from Eisleben Road Primary in Cape Town said that she was eager to implement the training she received over the four days in the school based Mandela Day library that she runs. “Everything is important, I am learning so much during this time and I am inspired by the simplicity and ease with which the content can be implemented. I am so excited to go back to school to use the tools I have learned,” says Carol Odendaal from Eisleben Road Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain.

Breadline Africa Launches an Educare Centre in Piketberg

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Cape Town, September 27, 2014 – 4 containers for an Educare Centre were launched with much fanfare in the small farming town of Picketberg (an area of 9.8km2) 2 hours from Cape Town. It has a population of 11,900 and 3 in 4 residents are farm labourers. According to a 2013 study[1], the poverty rate is 33.8% which is the 2nd highest in the district. It was found that the community suffers from a shortage of resources, high poverty levels, and significant unemployment. The main forms of employment are seasonal farm work (many are unemployed between April-July) or work in quarries. Poverty is prevalent given the nature of the work, low wages and high dependency on social grants. 

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Mother Pearl was established in 1994 by Kitty Joubert (ECD Principal) and cared for 66 children between the ages of 2 and 5 using the tiny change rooms of the local rugby stadium. The children’s nap area was on the cold cement floor and they all shared a single adult toilet and hand basin. As each day ended, the facilitators had to pack away the ECD equipment to make way for the local sporting community to use the stadium. They applied to us in Oct 2012 and Edna visited Kitty and established the urgent need for containers to enable children be cared for an educated while parents are working on the farms.

On 27 September, the community gathered on the newly fenced (donated by Little Bright Stars ECD), still sandy land, granted by the municipality, where the shiny new BLA containers now stand. There are 4 containers under a roof structure: 2 classrooms, a kitchen and a toilet which were funded by direct mail campaigns earlier this year.

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Loud festive music welcomed the parents, children, community members and honourable guests. This was replaced by a marching band and then a procession of the young ECD children proudly holding the banner and escorted by a local police van.

The ribbon was cut by the Municipal Mayor Evert Manuel, Cllr. Ray Van-Rooy supported by Principal Kitty Joubert, a committee member and Edna.

 

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As the proceedings neared an end, Kitty Joubert was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy and said “words fail me but my heartfelt thanks goes out to Breadline Africa and all the donors who have helped make my dream come true”

A look inside the containers: 

40th Anniversary Scherpenheuwel Primary School

Nestled in the Robertson valley of Worcester, Western Cape, among the wine and fruit farmers, Amathunzi lodge hosted the 40th anniversary of Scherpenheuwel Primary School. Guests at the event were all partners in some form or other, who have supported and strengthened the small school to be what it is today.

In August this year, Breadline Africa also donated a second container which is now joined to the first container that was donated by Breadline Africa in 2011, making room for the rapidly growing school of 89 learners of farm workers. The space makes room for the weekly assembly for all the learners, a privilege they did not have prior to the addition. The school starts from Grade R and goes up to Grade 6.

The Police service was represented at the event. Their involvement with the school has focused on donating a rugby field as well as rugby gear for the school learners. Farm workers and their spouses were present. Over the years, many of them have helped raise funds or donated various items or simply provided their time and effort to refurbish and upgrade the school where the need was identified.

Despite the obvious challenges that Maryna Visagie (the principal of the school), has had to endure with the school, she was in a cheerful and relaxed mood. She welcomed and thanked everyone present for their contribution. Even with the apparent growth in enrollment, the Department of Education has not been willing to support the school with infrastructure because policy states that the schools needs to have at least 250 learners enrolled. Mrs Visagie has had to actively seek and advocate for the surrounding farming community to assist her in building the school.

In her speech she described the shoddy and disorderly condition that she found the school in, in 2010, the hurdles she has encountered to transform the school, and the disappointments she has had with the Department of Education. Her biggest challenge continues to be with the parents that drop off their children to start Grade R without any pre-schooling. She has had to be creative in many ways to ensure that the children ‘catch up’ as they battle through their learning. In one class she has three sub-groups; in one corner is the special needs group; in another is the four year old’s and in another resides the 6 year old’s.

Present at the event was a group of German volunteers who spend three days of the week as teaching assistants to make up for the shortage of teachers. The volunteers spend a year stationed at the school. And so the school perseveres.

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Breadline Africa launches 49th Mandela Day Library

pic3In July 2014, Volkswagen SA launched their first Mandela Day Library in the Eastern Cape and just 2 months later we celebrated the second in Alexandra Township. Right in the middle of National Literacy Week, we are proud to be a part of placing the 49th Mandela Day Library.

Once again, Volkswagen staff and their families arrived at Skeen Primary School early this Saturday morning, and spent half a day showing their support in various ways. As part of their corporate social investment, Volkswagen’s “Show of Hands” campaign gets their employees actively involved in community development.  This time Food and Trees for Africa led a team of volunteers in planting trees in front of the library and a vegetable garden. Another team was responsible for painting the pic2library and another painted palisade fencing around the library. It was a full day of activity for all the volunteers. In the library the children helped to clean shelves, label books and put up posters, while their moms helped classify and level the books. The library looked great in the end with an opening stock of 1 100 books.

The school once used a classroom as a library facility, but had to change it back to a classroom due an increase in the number enrolments which is a common occurrence in South African schools.  There are 1 337 students attending Skeen Primary from grades R to 7 and classrooms are filled with an average of 55 learners per class. Headed by Mr Mashishi, Skeen Primary is vibrant with activity. Through his leadership the learners are now exposed to a variety to sports, winning awards in them and travelling to places they would not normally be exposed to coming from the socio-economic environments that they do. He and his staff have a “can do” attitude and it is without a doubt that we have placed this library in the care of those poised to make a difference.

The public sector partnership with Breadline Africa means that the Mandela Day Library placed at Skeen Primary School will now be supported and monitored by district level Library and Information Services to assist Breadline Africa in ensuring impact and sustainability. We look forward to working with the school and welcome Gloria, the designated librarian, to the upcoming training in October this year.

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Breadline Africa launches 48th Mandela Day Library

Sedibeng Primary School – 5 September 2014

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Sedibeng Primary School is located just an hour outside of Kuruman, a small town in the Northern Cape. Established in 1971, the school has seen many changes in the political landscape. The principal, Mr Sekobe and his staff attended Sedibeng Primary in its early years and have been instrumental in building the school into what it is today. During the launch ceremony, the programme director and educator at the school, Mrs. Obanyeng, spoke of the hardships students faced during the Apartheid years, one of which was never being exposed to a library.

image2The Sedibeng community continue to face many challenges. At school level, overcrowded classrooms make teaching very difficult with an average of 60 children per class. The school runs a feeding scheme and learners get one meal per day served at 10am. This is often the only meal that the learners of Sedibeng Primary have living in this impoverished community.

In a conversation with teachers at the school, we learnt that approximately 30% of all learners are orphans. They go home to an empty building or live with extended family. The high mortality rate of the working age group is often due to asbestos related illness or the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Even though conditions are dire, the principal and staff were only too happy to celebrate the arrival of their very own Mandela Day Library. Sedibeng Village received what is now the 48th installation under the Mandela Day Libraries Project umbrella, another successful placement for the Breadline Africa and Nelson Mandela Foundation partnership.

In attendance was the Director of Curriculum Support, Ms. Ntombi Mashodi, who represented the Northern Cape Province. She was overwhelmed and expressed her delight in her address, promising to make sure the facility not only serves the school, but the community as well.

Mankete Moroka, Communications Officer at the Public Investment Corporation, spoke directly to the seniors motivating and inspiring them to make the right choices and use what they have access to, to fulfill their dreams.image3

The school ensured all stakeholders were present, and they along with Breadline Africa and the Public Investment Corporation, left assured that the investment was certainly needed, well placed and sure to be impactful given the commitment and dedication of the school staff and community.
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Breadline Africa launches 47th Mandela Day Library

Just over four months have passed since Breadline Africa and the Mandela Day Libraries Project launched the 40th Mandela Day Library in the Free State. Today, the Hobhouse community received the 47th; officially handed over to Mr. Taunyane, the principal of Beisang Mabewana Primary, by the Public Investment Corporation.

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 Breadline Africa is not only proud to moving toward a milestone of 50 libraries, but we  recognize that this project would not be possible without committed companies like the  Public Investment Corporation (PIC) who have been investing in the project since 2012.  This year they will be launching two libraries and Beisang Mabewana Primary’s was the  first to be celebrated.

 Senior Communications Officer, Adi Mathai, represented the PIC and spoke of the need for  sustainable and impactful solutions to uplift communities. He encouraged the community  and educators to make full use of the resource and allow it to be a building block for future generations in developing a culture and love of reading.

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It was truly astounding to see how much appreciation and support the library has from the community. The event had to take place in the community hall nearby to cater for all the parents, community members, learners and invited guests. There was traditional dancing, drama, poetry and readings carried out by students of different ages attending Beisang Mabewana Primary, educators cried with happiness.

Partners to Breadline Africa, the Department of Basic Education Library and Information Services directorate were in attendance as well. Seeing the need in the community and being inspired by the dedication and leadership of the school principal, Mr Mahura, Deputy Chief Education Specialist, played a role in helping us select the school. Mr. Mahura understood that the principal of the school possessed the ownership and commitment needed to take a resource like this and build on it.

Breadline Africa is proud to be a part of building the legacy of Madiba through the Mandela Day Libraries Project.

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