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BREADLINE AFRICA LAUNCHES CONTAINER KITCHEN FOR MACEDONIAN FEEDING SCHEME

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It would seem that even the sun approved of our efforts, as it shone brightly on the opening of a new community kitchen in Heideveld on the Cape Flats on Monday, 15 December 2014. Local residents came out in force to celebrate the provison of this much-needed kitchen, which will offer meals to the poorest members of the community.

The new kitchen, which was made possible by Breadline Africa’s generous donors, operates twice a week and serves more than 750 meals to adults and children in and around the poverty-stricken areas of Heideveld, Cathkin, Valhalla Park and Manenberg.

One of the custodians of this exciting project is Pastor Isaac de Jongh, a local church leader, and during the opening event, he happily reminisced about his own childhood. He was one of ten children and he explained that although things were tough in his family, his mom always cooked extra portions when making family meals, to ensure that the children in the neighbourhood whose families were not able to feed them properly did not go hungry. He added that she would also regularly bake bread, making sure that all the children in the neighbourhood received a slice.

Pastor de Jongh’s mother was the driving force in their community and also helped to establish a much-needed clinic, bringing primary healthcare into a community that did not have the resources to travel to access health services. It is easy to see where Pastor de Jongh got his inspiration from – he greatly admired his mother for her hard work and dedication, and aspired to emulate her one day.

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He was proud to follow in his mother’s footsteps and spent many hours in his kitchen at home, cooking pots of food, and with the help of his friends and community, he would serve the vulnerable homeless people who lived on the streets.  He would also go into many informal settlements where poverty is rife and shared with those who do not have a meal – especially the children. Now, he  and his team of community-based volunteers have a beautiful new kitchen with everything that they need to make nutritious meals for those in need.

A highlight of this happy day was when Ola arrived with Paddle  Pop ice lollies to hand out to the children.  A firm favourite with the youngsters, especially in the heat, they were welcomed and devoured in no time!

Pastor de Jongh could not find the words to express his gratitude for this great gift. He described it as an unbelievable, unimaginable experience, because something of this magnitude has never happened in this area and thanked Breadline Africa – and their generous donors – for bringing Christmas a bit earlier this year!

 

Written by Edna Titus

BREADLINE AFRICA’S ANNUAL TRIP TO THE SEASIDE … through the eyes of a child

“Thank you for the surprise, it was beyond our expectation.” These were the words echoed by all the children and their educators who attended our seaside programme.

2014 marked the fourteenth year of our seaside event, as we celebrate  21 years of serving the poor. To date, we have taken more than seventeen thousand children to Silverstreambeach, situated on the West Coast Road on the outskirts of Cape Town. (http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/SportRecreation/Pages/SilwerstroomBeach.aspx)

This year was no different, as we invited more than 1,000 children from as far afield as De Doorns, Touws River and Worcester. We also invited children from local townships  such as Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, Manenberg, Milnerton, Vrygrond, Lavender Hill, Philippi, Phumlani,  Mfuleni and Khayelitsha.

This event is one of our biggest treats for these children, who come from all walks of life, especially those who have never seen the sea. It has become an educational excursion, as the children have the opportunity to learn so much about the environment.

It was once said that it is so important for a child’s development to get in touch with nature; the feeling of the sand between their toes, the splashing in the sea water and the magnitude of the sea is something that these children have never experienced.  As one little girl said, “look at the snow on the water”.  She was referring to the waves that resemble snow on the surface of the sea, and for the children it was a sight to behold. Another girl tasted the water and said, why is the water so salty, who made the water salty? Did we make the water salty because we know that they were coming to the seaside?

This is the difference that a simple day-trip to the seaside makes – it can and will  broaden their knowledge and horizons, offering a glimpse of a life away from the circumstances that they know and, perhaps, inspiring them to a greater future.

Many of the parents are seasonal workers and struggle to make ends meet. An invitation like this is something that will never ordinarily come their way. This was truly a magical experience, as their eyes lit up in the wonderment at the prospect of the bus-ride to the seaside.

The staff of Signature of Hope Trust  brought special joy to the day when they brought along a variety of games to keep the children entertained. They played running potato games, the jumping castle, the hoola hoops, the ball games on the beach and, most of all, the children loved the face painting. (www.signatureofhope.org/)

 

A lovely surprise for any child is the appearance of Father Christmas, who handed out gifts to all the children. Their curiosity quickly got the better of them and they delved into the gift bags to see what treasures lay within.

This is our annual gift to the children who endure so much hardship and deprivation. For many of them, this will be the only Christmas gift that they will receive. We thank all our friends and supporters, especially Salfreds Bus Company, for their loyal support.

(http://www.salfreds.co.za/)

We would  also like to take this opportunity to thank the management, staff, security and the life savers of Silverstroom Beach, who assisted us in ensuring that this was a safe and enjoyable event for everyone who attended.

 

Breadline Africa launches the 52nd Mandela Day Library

Ineeleng Primary School – 04 December 2014

Lokaleng Village, Mothibistad, Northern Cape province.

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On the 4th December, the small community of Lokaleng village in the Mothibistad area of the Northern Cape Province joyfully gathered in a tent at Ineeleng Primary school. It was a joy for all to witness the launch of the 52nd Mandela Day Library. The day arrived with rays of hope for the better education of the children of this community.

The launch reminds us that it was this time last year, the 5th of December, when we sadly received the announcement about the loss of a great man, national hero Nelson Mandela. The launch of this library marked the first year of his departure from this earth, and was in celebration of his legacy.

mookhoIneeleng is offering primary education to 164 learners from grades 1-7. This was really a great day for the school and the entire community as people came from far to witness the opening doors of newly treasured library.  It was an exceptional day for the beneficiaries as the school had dreamed of having fully resourced library.

The principal of the school Mrs Moholoeng, a very passionate and determined person, expressed her joy over the library and with confidence said that it is in good hands. She also provided a long history of the school and the struggle she went through to make this happen. She acknowledged all the people and individuals for their contributions to make this a success. Sincere gratitude was directed to Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and Breadline Africa.

The children also expressed their happiness in the form of song and dance. They really entertained the gathered crowd.   Their songs struck a chord; the atmosphere lifted and brought laughter.

Among the crowd of people gathered to witness the launch were representatives from the Department of Basic Education, Provincial District Library and Information Services, School Governing Board, the counsellor and ATNS team Mr Nesengani, Sphelele and Percy Morokane.  Mr Nesengani from ATNS presented a remarkable speech on behalf of the ATNS team in the office of the CEO. In his speech he expressed their great concern, passion and love in investing in the education of children in the poor communities of South Africa. He also thanked the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Breadline Africa for coming up with the initiative.

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Breadline Africa Celebrates World Toilet Day At Inkwenkwezi Educare Centre, Mbekweni Paarl

It is reported that 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-Toilets2-NewIn light of this sanitation issue & Breadline Africa’s focus on children, we have provided Inkwenkwezi Educare Centre in Mbekweni, Paarl a  shipping container toilet.

The container was fitted out with two hand basins, three toilets for the boys and three toilets for the girls.
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.

The occasion was attended by representatives from the Valcare Trust, Dr Lisa Louw, a supporter from Paarl and guests from Social Development as well as the educators and Principal, Joyce Kepe of the Educare Centre.  A generous donation of desks, chairs, and stack up beds were received from Rand Merchant Bank.

Inkwenkwezi Educare  (which means  Star of Hope) placed potties in an alleyway, to cater for the ablution needs of more than 50 children in their care, ranging from six months to six- year old.

Joyce Kepe and her staff thanked all the sponsors and supporters for the invaluable support that she had received.

 

Written by: Edna Titus

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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