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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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BREADLINE AFRICA SHARES MUCH NEEDED FOOD PARCELS IN VRYGROND, KALKFONTEIN, CAPE TOWN

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During our harsh winter months many communities struggle to make ends meet.  This is the situation in the informal settlement called Vrygrond in Kalkfontein.   An area of abject poverty and unemployment

Food is one of the most basic needs for many communities. This is how we reached out to the most poverty stricken communities by sharing with them a much need food parcel.

The women of Vrygrond struggle with high unemployment rate, illness and the most worrisome factor, hunger.  The children of these women are being fed from the local container kitchen once a week.

There are many children who do not attend an educare centre and more than one hundred kids are being fed from the container kitchen in the community.  The band of volunteers work tirelessly and cook big pots of food every Wednesday.  The learners from the nearby school and the children in the area bring the empty bowls to be filled with  a hearty cooked meal.

As we celebrate Women’s Month we felt that we could reach out to these mothers and grandmothers. Some of the women are ill at home and does not get a chance to see the daylight.  Each woman present received a much needed food parcel with the most necessary basics to cook a wholesome meal for their families.  Each lady also received a lovely warm blanket to keep them warm during the cold winter nights.

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Breadline Africa celebrates National Women’s Day on 7th August 2014

August, 9th National Women’s Day in South Africa is celebrated annually – it’s a day that pays homage to the women of our nation; – the mothers, the wives, the sisters and the daughters who fought tirelessly against the tyranny of the Apartheid.

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This year Breadline Africa celebrated Women’s Day at the renowned tourist destination, the Look Out Hill, at the Malibongwe Restaurant in Khayelitsha.  Approximately 100 women from various container projects were invited to the luncheon. We felt that it was an opportune moment to thank these women for the love and care that they share with so many under privileged communities through very difficult circumstances.

The women arrived dressed in their Africa traditional attire – the weather was a perfect match as sunshine and blue skies looked down on the day’s festivities.  It was an honour to thank these heroic women for the admirable work that they do.  They are the Ambassadors for Breadline Africa as they continue to do remarkable work in the renovated containers supplied to them by Breadline Africa.

In honor of Women’s day we invited Andrea Dondolo, story teller and actor, as our key note speaker, who delivered a very image3powerful speech as she recalled the history of Women’s Day.  She encouraged the women in attendance to grow strong in what they are doing, to conquer and to rise up to their dreams. Andrea said that as Women we have a voice, and that we should use our voice to achieve our purpose.  As women we sow the seeds of our own integrity.  The seeds that we sow should enable us to reap the rewards the Creator has for us.

Andrea emphasized and made it clear to the women, ‘You are the mirrors of society, you are the ones that our children first encounter – you are the heroines’.  Often times we are so overwhelmed by the little babies or children at your centers that we forget to say “thank you” to you. Today’s event is meant to nurture you;  we thank you for your commitment to our communities.”

image4Mrs Leah Tutu, wife of Archbishop Desmond Tutu encouraged the women to continue their good work.  Mrs Tutu said that as women we are “human builders” and that we are good at what we are doing.  We also have to be our Sisters keepers and therefore we all have to carry on with the good that we are doing.

Also in attendance were various performers that rendered items of song and dance to entertain our guests which they thoroughly enjoyed.

We were in awe of the significant work that these women do not only on a national level, but globally. It’s been said that women are the architects of society and today particularly, being surrounded by such inspirational women, is a great statement.

We salute all the beautiful heroic women that go the extra mile to ensure that the children, the youth, the unemployed and senior citizens in their communities are being empowered and kept safe.

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Breadline Africa to host its annual comedy show featuring Shimmy Isaacs, Dalin Oliver, Wayne McKay and CJ Benson

Breadline Africa, one of the biggest suppliers of converted containers for poverty relief in Southern Africa, will host its annual Comedy Show on Thursday, September 4th, at the Protea Hotel in Sea Point. The proceeds from the show will go towards a series of seaside outings hosted at the end of the year for children from underprivileged communities in the Cape Town area and surrounds.

The show will feature the likes of comedians Shimmy Isaacs, Dalin Oliver, Wayne McKay and CJ Benson. Seasoned comedians, each one has performed at some of Cape Town’s comedy hotspots such as The Cape Collective and Jou Ma Se Comedy Club. “The saying ‘a day without laughter is a day wasted’ is one that truly resounds with me as a comedian,” says Shimmy Isaacs. “When Breadline Africa approached me to partner with them for this year’s event, I was more than happy to do so. I get to use my craft as a comedian to touch the lives of children, especially those within my community, who at times do not get to use up their daily laughter quota because of the sometimes awful circumstances they find themselves in.”

“Many of the children who come along on these trips have never been to the sea,” says Breadline Africa Projects Officer, Edna Titus. “As a team, this is the best way for us to end our year. The children come from such extreme poverty and hardship, the very least we can do for them is give them a little gift of a trip to the sea – it just adds a sparkle of joy to their lives at a time where every little child deserves a little bit of a spoil.”

Tickets are on sale for R170 and include a welcome drink and canapés upon arrival. For online bookings please visit: https://www.quicket.co.za/events/5989-bread-line-africa-annual-comedy-show/ or contact Breadline Africa directly on 021 418 0322 or info@breadlineafrica.org.za

46th Mandela Day Library launched in Phalaborwa sponsored by ShoutSA

Pondo Combined  School – 6 August  2014

Lulekani, Phalaborwa, Limpopo.

ShoutSA library

SHOUTSA, founded by local musicians Danny K and Kabelo, sell music and merchandise to raise funds for projects that will prevent the scourge of crime in our society. The organisations mantra, “A better ME, a greater WE” is reflective of its movement toward investing in education; understanding that projects with high impact on children and their ability to see the world differently means laying a foundation for a safer South Africa.

On the 6th August, just a short while after the world celebrated International Mandela Day, SHOUTSA are still busy giving back. This Group of dancerstime a SEED library was launched at Pondo Combined School in the Mopani District of Limpopo province, one of the least resourced provinces in the country. Network BBDO, the MAL  Foundation and Architects of Justice are all partners in this initiative; each having worked tirelessly to produce an incredibly innovative library design.

The library opened with 2 500 brand new books covering a variety of subjects and reading levels that will support both teachers and learners with the curriculum and their inquiry into worlds they would not normally be able to see and imagine given the socio-economic status of the community.

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It was a very special day for Pondo Combined School as the brand new TV show called “Play Your Part” airing currently on national TV channel SABC 2, filmed the launch ceremony, and the library.  As a media partner, SABC is ensuring that the project gains much.

The entire day was dedicated to the value of a reading culture for learners and its potential impact on their lives. District Circuit Manager, Ms. Baloyi, address the audience with an impassioned speech themed around commitment of teachers, parents and learners in the development of individuals and the community. During the library launch, the children got involved in and celebrated their new library with traditional dance and readings from South African author, Lee-Anne Flack’s Constitutional Kids.  publicity as possible with the aim of encouraging ordinary South Africans to work together in fighting crime through education by celebrating what has been achieved thus far.

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All 1 469 children attending Pondo Combined School are sure to enjoy visiting their new library.

Press Release: As MECs welcome the end of the Limpopo intervention, Pondo Combined School welcomes its brand new up-cycled container library

Limpopo, August 6th, 2014 – Just a few days ago, 5 Limpopo MECs were handed back control over their departments. In a province where financial mismanagement threatened to paralyze service delivery, national government took control of almost half of Limpopo’s departments including education, health, public works, roads and transport and treasury. It has taken the administration more than two-and-a half years to bring financial stability and sustainability to the affected departments.

In a move to support the province and some of its greatest assets, Breadline Africa in partnership with SHOUT SA launched a brand new SEED library at Pondo Combined School based in the Mopani District of Limpopo. Reading is a fundamental function in society. Most of our daily activities depend on the ability to read and people are limited in what they can accomplish without good reading and comprehension skills.

In the Annual National Assessments of 2013, the Department of Basic Education reported a direct relationship between literacy results and learner access to resources. In comparing grade 6 learner achievement levels based on government ranked poverty quintiles, the 2013 scores revealed a 16% difference in First Additional Language (FAL) results between those schools least resourced and those with good access. For Limpopo, being one of the two least resourced provinces in public education resource access in South Africa, this investment by SHOUT SA is certainly welcome.

Whilst education remains a top priority for government, non-profit and private sector organisations like Breadline Africa and Shout SA are pleased to be supporting government in its efforts by investing into primary level education. “The Mandela Day Libraries project is a simple yet impactful and sustainable initiative,” says Jade Orgill, Breadline Africa Project Manager. “We need to inspire a love of reading in a way that has a positive impact on literacy at primary school level. The art and discipline of reading is absolutely essential in gearing our children to become tomorrow’s leaders. Investing in education is so important if we are to make significant inroads into transformation.”

At the launch, school Principle Mr. Mkansi said, “The children of Pondo Combined Primary School are inspired to achieve the many wonderful things around them but don’t necessarily know how. Books are a way of inspiring children and a way of allowing them to live into their dreams.”

Breadline Africa is looking forward to launching many more Mandela Day Libraries across South Africa in the upcoming months – the benefit of which ensures that South Africa’s children have the opportunity to access the wonderful world of reading, one book at a time.