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Breadline Africa Celebrates Mandela Day 2015 in Mfuleni, Cape Town

Today being Mandela Day 2015, Breadline Africa staff spent the morning handing out food packs to more than 100 children in Mfuleni after officially handing over a container library to Cebolethu Educare Centre in Mfuleni, Cape Town.

Cebolethu EducareIn the past, and in partnership with Little Libraries, Cebolethu Educare Centre opened its doors every Saturday morning to run reading sessions for up to 100 community children and youth.  Without proper facilities this welcomed activity was straining the small shack structure.

From very early in the morning, the Educare Centre was abuzz with parents, the children and the entire community as we launched the 6 meter container library. A selection of isiXhosa books also donated by Breadline Africa will further support on-going reading.

Breadline Africa is confident that the container library will be used to its maximum with the support of Little Cebolethu Educare StaffLibraries. For them this serves as the 100th library that they will be mentoring and monitoring on a regular ba sis. The library will be functional during the week, after school hours and on Saturdays. A local and unemployed community member is all geared up to facilitate the reading club.

With the assurance that the library is in capable hands, Breadline Africa is confident that the Mfuleni children and youth aged 5-18 years will continue to experience the joy of reading for pleasure and further expand their minds. Just the way Madiba would have liked!

Cebolethu Educare Community  Cebolethu Educare - BLA staff


Lettie De Klerk Primary School, Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape Container Kitchen Handover

Lettie De Klerk Primary School, Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape

Container Kitchen Handover

22 May 2015 

Today, Friday 22nd May, we celebrated with 250 very excited children at the handover of a container kitchen to their school.  Lettie De Klerk Primary School is located 60 km from Graaff-Reinet, in the  small Karoo town of Nieu-Bethesda. Lettie De Klerk is the only primary school in this town and was started by a local farmer’s wife more than 100 years ago.   There are only two roads leading in and out of Nieu Bethesda, indicating the remoteness of the place.



Under the leadership of a very enthusiastic and dynamic principal, Mrs Barbara Vaaltyn together with her 7 educators, marked the day as a day of triumph. The programme was started with an opening prayer from the town’s Dominie Du Toit.  The opening was attended by parents and dignitaries from various District Departments.  Mr. Ashley Horn, Chairperson from the School Governing Body addressed the children and the parents, reminding them that “…good comes to those who wait patiently”. She further promised that she and her fellow colleagues would together look after the kitchen facility.  Echoing in song and dance in the Karoo autumn sun, the school choir and the drum majorettes entertained the audience.  Speeches were the order of the day and the Department’s District Director for Nutrition professed that despite the many challenges this small rural school faced it always seems to overcome and it makes him very proud to be part of their achievements. He also assured the delegates that the brand new kitchen cupboards will be filled with food.


Barbara Vaaltyn, the principal, was filled with emotion and gratitude as she addressed the crowd.  She thanked Breadline Africa for “…bringing change into her children’s lives and exposing them to something beautiful and for them to have a sense of worth”  She articulated to the children that, as small as they are, they can achieve anything they set their minds to and that nothing is ever impossible if they believe.  This joyous event was brought to an end with dusty shoes that danced the afternoon away in celebration.


Sicelokuhle Crèche Kitchen Handover Peace Town, Kwazulu-Natal 21 May 2015


A mere two months have passed since Breadline Africa handed over Early Childhood Development Container facilities in the Eastern Cape. Today, Thursday 21 May, we officially handed over the container kitchen facility to Sicelokuhle Crèche in rural, Kwazulu Natal.

It is truly astounding to see the level of appreciation and support the Crèche has from the community. Invited guests, parents and community members at large were all present and in high spirits. The event was lively with plenty of traditional dancing and singing, reflecting the communities’ joy. Nelisiwe Ngwenya, the founder of Sicelokuhle Crèche was happiest of them all.

Just 17 km out of Ladysmith, on the banks of the Klip River, is where Peace Town can be found, and Sicelokuhle Crèche is situated right in the heart of this village. “We ask for good things” is the literal translation of Sicelokuhle in isiZulu, and everyone felt that they had received one good thing today.

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Mr Khumalo, the Principal of the neighbouring Peace Town Primary School, spoke of the daily hardships the community faces. He further shared his gratitude to Mrs Ngwenya for showing great passion when dealing with small children and her insurmountable commitment to ensuring they are school ready. He continued saying that her belief in doing good has been fuel behind her unrelenting endeavours despite the challenges.

In support of the crèche, Mr Makhaza, the Headman, has been instrumental in supporting the Crèche from its inception. He gave the land where the Crèche is currently located, in 2007 and has since supported Mrs Ngwenya in various ways including admonishing the community from stealing from the Crèche. Mr Makhaza, spoke directly to the parents, motivating and inspiring them to make the right choices and to continuously serve the community so that their children may become successful individuals who are able to give back.

The Councillor, Mr Khoza was also in attendance. He contributed towards the security fence placed around the Crèche. This invaluable gesture has made the crèche a safe haven for the small children, an investment that further uplifts the community of Peace Town.

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Even with the donation of a kitchen facility, Sicelokuhle Crèche continues to face many challenges. One of the most critical is access to nutritional food and inadequate educational material for the 35 children. One meal per day is served to each child at the Crèche, but the Principal indicated that it is not sufficient. The classrooms are falling apart, but this is not a reason to stop educating.

In attendance was the entire School Governing Body, and one representative was overwhelmed with delight and expressed as much in her address. She promised to make sure the Crèche not only serves the parents, but the community at large.

Even though conditions are dire in Peace Town, the community, who all contributed to the celebration in one way or other, were only happy to celebrate and enjoy the moment. It is hoped that this is an indication of a community that will go to lengths to ensure a safe and nurturing space for their children.  Breadline Africa was just as proud to be associated with the development of Peace Town.

PRESS RELEASE: Lettie De Klerk Primary School

Today, the children at Lettie De Klerk Primary School received a gift that will give them a lot more to look forward to when they come to school each day. They received a brand-new container kitchen from Breadline Africa, a non-profit organisation that provides converted shipping container infrastructures to educational projects across South Africa.

Some 60 km from Graaff-Reinet, you will find Nieu-Bethesda, a somewhat isolated town, with only two roads leading in and out, situated at the foot of the Sneeuberge.

Nieu-Bethesda lies in a narrow valley, it has no streetlights and is only about 1,6 kilometres wide and 3,2 kilometres long – home to a little more than a thousand people.  Lettie De Klerk is the only primary school in the area, and was started by a local farmer’s wife more than 100 years ago. Under the capable leadership of very enthusiastic and dynamic principal, Barbara Vaaltyn, the school is home to 250 children, ranging from Gr R to grade 7, in pre-fabricated classrooms. It is a dual medium school offering classes in Afrikaans and English. All of the learners’ families depend on social grants, as there are limited employment opportunities in the community.

The school provides one meal per day to all children, which is funded by the Department of Education. The school is well known in the area because of its excellent performance in sports – this teaches the children discipline, respect for rules, joint achievement and co-operation.  Dusty shoes are to be expected, because this is the Karoo, as the children take turns to line up with plates waiting to be filled with nutritious food, this could possibly be their only meal of the day.

The school did not have a kitchen and daily cooking took place in a cramped corner of a classroom. One can only imagine how difficult it was for the children to concentrate during teaching time!

Things changed for the better at Lettie De Klerk School today; together with the community, the children celebrated the handover of the brand new container kitchen. With Breadline Africa’s sponsorship of this much-needed kitchen facility, the school will be able to use the class for teaching purposes only and have a hygienic, safe place to prepare the children’s daily meals.


About Breadline Africa

Breadline Africa, one of the biggest suppliers of converted shipping containers for poverty relief in Southern Africa, has provided more than 250 containers to poverty-stricken communities since its establishment in 1993. The South African based NGO believes that every child has the capacity to do something phenomenal with his or her life. When a child’s imagination is unlocked, possibilities and options are opened up, allowing them to choose a path for their own future. Breadline Africa enables this journey by providing initiatives and infrastructure to support childhood development in Southern Africa. The renovated containers are used as early childhood development centres, school libraries, community kitchens and ablution blocks.

For more information, see www.breadlineafrica.org.za or contact Edna Titus: edna@breadlineafrica.org.za +27 (0) 21 418 0322

PRESS RELEASE Sicelokuhle Creche

Spreading some winter warmth just in time, Breadline Africa, a non-profit organisation that provides infrastructure solutions using repurposed shipping containers, a container kitchen facility will be opened at the Sicelokuhle Crèche in rural KwaZulu Natal on 21 May 2015.

Ladysmith lies in the heart of the commercial Uthukela farming District of KwaZulu-Natal. It serves as a major shopping hub for the smaller feeder towns, like Peace Town, which is situated 17km out of Ladysmith, on the banks of the Klip River. It is also the home of Sicelokuhle Crèche, the beneficiary of a new, hygienic kitchen facility to feed the 30 children in the care of founder, Nelisiwe Ngwenya.

In February 2007, Nelisiwe Ngwenya made the decision to gather all the toddlers who were left at home while their mothers sought work in Ladysmith and neighbouring towns. This is how Sicelokuhle (“we ask for good things” in Zulu) Créche came into being.  The aim of this early childhood development centre is to keep children safe and healthy; and to provide an enabling environment for the chidlren in their care to achieve the educational outcomes required for successful early childhood development.

Nelisiwe’s initiative gained the support of the men of the community, who helped Nelisiwe build a classroom where the children could be taught and looked after. A local councilor also took up the challenge and raised funds to put up a fence to be erected around the classroom, thus ensuring that the little ones were kept safe and secure.  This accelerated growth of the crèche created several challenges, including the provision of basic cooking facilities.  Meals were prepared and cooked at a home in the community, in a kitchen that was really only designed for a small household.

Nelisiwe wanted a better solution, as she had to walk a distance in scorching heat and in the cold of the harsh winter months to collect the prepared food each day.  She appealed to Breadline Africa for assistance, and today marks the culmination of her hard work, as she received a container soup kitchen where she can prepare hearty meals on the premises of the créche for the hungry little tummies.  The excitement of the opening is shared by parents, teachers, local citizens and government officials.


About Breadline Africa

Breadline Africa, one of the biggest suppliers of converted shipping containers for poverty relief in Southern Africa, has provided more than 250 containers to poverty-stricken communities since its establishment in 1993. The South African based NGO believes that every child has the capacity to do something phenomenal with his or her life. When a child’s imagination is unlocked, possibilities and options are opened up, allowing them to choose a path for their own future. Breadline Africa enables this journey by providing initiatives and infrastructure to support childhood development in Southern Africa. The renovated containers are used as early childhood development centres, school libraries, community kitchens and ablution blocks.

For more information, see www.breadlineafrica.org.za or contact Edna Titus: edna@breadlineafrica.org.za +27 (0) 21 418 0322

Breadline African Chairman attends the SA-UK Trust Network Meeting

Louise Seligman (Breadline Africa Chairman and trustee of the SA-UK Trust) attended the SA-UK Trust Meeting at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel in London on 20th April. Approximately 50 representatives of UK registered NGOs working in South Africa together with executives from corporates with an interest in South Africa and representatives of charitable trusts met to share ideas and experiences.

Louise is pictured with Bill Frankel (Chairman of the Claude Leon Foundation), Pumela Salela, (new UK country manager for Brand South Africa), Jill Ritchie (Chairman of the  SA-UK Trust) and Martha Ware (SA-UK Trust and School Aid trustee).

SA-Trust UK meeting

The objective of the Trust is to add value,  through networking and collaboration, to the work of the members seeking to improve the lives of many of the most deprived and marginalised members of society in South Africa.

Breadline Africa’s collaboration with School Aid and Room to Read is a direct result of these meetings which take place 3 times a year.

Each meeting consists of 3 or 4 talks from funders, professional experts and NGO’s offering advice on fundraising and relevant issues followed by a valuable opportunity to network.

The inspirational speakers on this occasion were Pumela Salela ,the new UK country manager for Brand South Africa. Phumela sits on a number of boards .She gained an MBA in the UK through a Nelson Mandela Scholarship. She worked for the World  Bank in Washington and is the only South African recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s inaugural Global Fellowship on Social  Innovation. She worked  for a number of years  in various marketing roles in FMCG multinationals  and media organisations in South Africa and the UK before joining the public sector.

Her role us to attract foreign investment into South Africa and to manage the brand reputation of South Africa.

Pumela asked everyone at the meeting to promote the many inspiring stories about South Africa coming out of people’s work on the ground and to work together to improve South Africa’s image in the UK.

Bill Frankel Chairman of the Claude Leon Foundation  was for over 25 years the secret  legal consultant to the Canon Collins Trust with prime responsibility for secretly channelling funds to South Africa to pay the legal costs for virtually every political trial during the Apartheid era.He was appointed OBE by the Queen in 2000 for services to human rights.

The Foundation gives to South African Universities and NGO’s focusing on education and human rights. Mr Frankel gave a fascinating insight into the “do’s” and “don’ts” of fundraising from a donor’s perspective .

Sonal Shenai Executive Director of the Funding Network, explained how this small but dynamic organisation has raised more than £4 mil for 590 initiatives globally promoting social change through live crowd funding. Sonal invited all present to join the network as individuals and encourage their supporters to do so and to nominate their chosen charities as one of 3 charities to present to potential donors at a live funding event. She emphasised that this is an enjoyable way of asking for funds and giving and that most events lead to further opportunities to raise funds.

Note to our Breadline Africa supporters: Are any of you a member of the network? If so, please nominate Breadline Africa!


About 60 riders took part in the Cape Town Cycle Race on behalf of Breadline Africa this year.  Among these was a Trustee from the Netherlands , Marijke Schep, who decided to do the race at the last moment, and also SA Trustee Professor Eric Atmore, who is a frequent rider and normally rides on behalf of his own charity, the Centre for Early Childhood Development in Cape Town.  In addiiton there were a number of overseas riders, Marijke’s brother Geert and his friends Michiel Lap and Ivo van Haren together with Richard Brennan – below at the start of the race and in our office on Friday morning.

Because of the devastating fires which raged across the Cape peninsula last week, the race was reduced from the normal 108 km to 47 km, thereby missing out some of the more spectacular routes of the seaside race.   In addition, this race was especially dedicated to the firefighters and emergency personnel, who had shown such courage in the four days of the blaze which raged across the mountains. Our team of Breadline riders contributed to the race and we will know within a few days how much was raised, but many thanks to you all.  It was wonderful having you in Cape Town and we hope that you will be back next year !

Lukhanyiso Pre-School launches its Containers Motherwell, Eastern Cape

Lukhanyiso Pre-school, located in Motherwell, just 28 kilometres outside of Port Elizabeth CBD, is home to 60 children aged 2-6 years. For the better part of the day, the pre-school was bustling with esteemed guests, parents and Motherwell NU12 community members. What was to be a minor event was in no time transformed into a massive ceremony.

The pre-school was not only celebrating the four newly donated containers, but the astounding partnerships that have developed over the years. Represented today was the Department of Social Development, Rural Development, the local Councillor, a teacher from the nearby primary school, representatives from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), and the School Governing Body of the pre-school.

Not so long ago, the pre-school used a shack as a classroom and a dilapidated 6 meter container for the very young children. Increased enrolment forced the Pre-school owner, Ms Zodwa Plaatjie, to look for an alternative and larger facility to run the school. It is at this point that she made contact with Breadline Africa, approximately two years ago.

Zodwa’s can-do attitude, her commitment, her resilience, and selflessness have resulted in the advancements and achievements in her immediate neighbourhood. This sentiment was recognised and reiterated by the Reverend who opened the session with prayer, the Master of Ceremonies and Mr Sandile Mpepo from the NMMU.   Through the Social Development Department at NMMU, several students have raised funds for a 12 meter container that is currently being used by the Grade R learners; in addition, they raised funds for a fence that now secures the property where all 5 containers are placed.

In this community where unemployment is high, crime is the order of the day and hopes and dreams are non-existing, it was the wish of all guest speakers that Lukhanyiso, which means “brightness” in Xhosa, will live up to its name – become the beaming light of hope for the community.

It was truly astonishing to see the level of appreciation and support the pre-school received from the community. It is the wish of Breadline Africa that the very same community will take further  responsibility for ensuring a sustainable and worthy foundation of knowledge of the children towards a  brighter future.

Press Release: A brighter start for Lukhanyiso Pre-school on World NGO Day

27 February 2015

Although townships are an intrinsic part of the history and current-day culture of South African society, due to their location – the outskirts of cities’ commercial and suburban centres – they continue to experience challenges, from unemployment and poverty, to a lack of access to basic resources and amenities. Motherwell, in Port Elizabeth, is no different. Laced with RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses, which are continually being built, the need for resources is never sufficient. This has not prevented Zodwa Plaatjie, who owns and runs an early childhood development centre for up to 60 children.

Today, being World NGO Day, could not have been a better day to launch the Lukhanyiso Pre-school containers with Zodwa. The day signifies an opportunity where NGOs celebrate their achievements while ensuring that small grassroots organisations gain the recognition they deserve – and Zodwa Plaatjie is one who deserves to be praised.

In 2010, Breadline Africa was introduced to Zodwa. At the time, she had made a plea for support for the work she was doing. She was running a pre-school for 60 children between the ages of one and six years, feeding them daily from her small make-shift shack she was using as a kitchen, and running a soup kitchen for the elderly from her meagre earnings. The pre-school operated from a 6,5-metre by 4,6metre shack, with a rusty roof that leaked whenever it rained, and the toilet facilities for the children were no better. The facilities lacked ventilation, and were not fire-proof. To top it off, there was hardly any space for a play area for the little children.

Amid these constant challenges, Zodwa has not only persevered and pushed on, she continues to inspire the general public to become more involved; she encourages and welcomes collaboration with other sectors. Most importantly, she has dedicated her life to others.

The newly refurbished containers: two classrooms, a kitchen and an ablution block, donated by Breadline Africa and co-sponsored by the Marthe van Rijswich Foundation, the Stanley Smith Fund and Containers4Life, have provided not only bigger, safer and securer space for the centre, but also an inviting, child-friendly structure.

The aptly named pre-school – Lukhanyiso – which means ‘brightness’ in Xhosa, kick-started 2015 with the new facilities. It is hoped that the new facilities will provide a healthy learning environment that is inspiring to children and serve as an encouragement to the community, helping them realise their own potential.

Breadline Africa focuses its energies on the upliftment of early childhood development and their surrounding communities. “Offering early childhood development facilities to create healthy environments for children to develop holistically, especially in poorly resourced areas, is critical to offering a foundation of knowledge, maturity and independence,” said Puleng Phooko of Breadline Africa. “We are proud to be supporting Zodwa, who has shown that despite the odds, she strongly believes in the need to nurture and grow South Africa’s children.

Literacy Quiz: International Kid Lit Quiz founder donates 2 000 books

For the past four years, collaborating with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Cape Town based NGO Breadline Africa, has provided 52 container libraries to schools across the country.

The libraries help foster a love of reading and provide an opportunity to children, many of whom hardly ever see a reading book, to come into contact with picture and story books.

Through the generosity of companies and donors, Breadline Africa has reached public primary school going children in nine provinces, many of whom are entering the world of reading for the first time.

25 February: The Mandela Day Libraries Project received a real treat today as 2 000 children’s books were donated. Donor, Wayne Mills started the Kids Lit Quiz, a literature quiz for primary school children based on the last 2 000 years of children’s books – over 20 years ago. The books form part of Mills’ personal collection – he is the international quizmaster of the Kids Lit Quiz and past lecturer in children’s literature at the School of Education at the University of Auckland. Mills has read every book he bases his questions on. Now that he has retired from the University, has decided to downscale and decided to donate the collection of books to needy schools in South Africa. He wanted the books to form two collections and be donated to two schools. The University of Auckland and Breadline Africa funded the cost of transporting and packaging and importing of the books.

Alpine Primary School in the Western Cape and Magudu Primary School in Mpumalanga were selected as recipients because they are doing an incredible job of integrating their libraries into the school. Breadline Africa believes in rewarding those schools that are making an effort to develop learners in different ways. Literacy has reached critically low levels in South African schools, with the Annual National Assessment results for English First Additional Language at Grade 6 being 45%, which is a 1% drop on the previous year.

Mills is in SA now to run the Kids Lit Quiz and is very supportive of its sister quiz, the Phendulani Literacy Quiz in SA, of which BLA is a partner. He started the Kids Lit Quiz as a champion of reading and in 2008 he was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal for services to children’s literature.

In 2011 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Mills promotes the concept of a literature quiz because:

•             It offers reading challenges;

•             It broadens literary awareness;

•             It fosters positive attitudes towards reading;

•             It motivates students to read;

•             It provides a literary focus for schools to extend their students reading mileage and knowledge of literature;

•             It’s highly motivating; and

•             It promotes tolerance through learning about other cultures.

Breadline Africa commends Wayne Mills for his lifetime contribution to children’s literacy. We value the donation and know that his incredible collection will be appreciated by our school educators and learners.

#literacy #BreadlineAfrica #Projects