There was much to celebrate on Wednesday 23 March, when the Breadline Africa team handed over its first 44m² sandbag and ecobeam structure consisting of a kitchen, an office as well as a large classroom area to Ilithalethu Educare Centre in Khayelitsha, Western Cape.
While the sandbag building technique is not new, it is a first for Breadline Africa. The organisation’s Programme Manager, Ali Waggie, explained that there are several advantages to using this building method:
- It allows Breadline Africa to work in areas where space is limited and hence, difficult to place container or prefabricated structures.
- Sandbag structures have better insulation properties than containers and, in the high density and volatile areas where the organisation works, the sandbag structure offers an improved soundproof, fireproof, and bulletproof solution.
This particular structure also kickstarts Breadline Africa’s new Alternate Infrastructure Project, which was first implemented in 2021. Project Manager, Alex Laugksch, hopes to test a further five alternate building methods this year, as part of Breadline Africa’s commitment to finding more cost-effective environmentally sustainable infrastructure solutions.
Currently, a fibreglass kitchen/toilet facility has been placed at Sijongephambili Crèche in Strand, Western Cape. This structure will be handed over in May 2022 with a plastic brick classroom being prepared for handover at an early childhood development (ECD) centre in Gauteng towards the middle of 2022.
Over the coming months, the durability of the sandbag structure at Ilithalethu Educare will be monitored and its long-term suitability for use at ECD centres further assessed. The principal of Ilithalethu Educare, Constance Mbambo, is hugely excited about her new-look centre and very grateful for the additional classroom space. She thanked Breadline Africa for the building and added that she was looking forward to seeing ‘her’ children learn and grow in it!
On the day of the visit, 32 children were present and fully engaged in learning activities. Through Breadline Africa’s partnership with Book Dash, each child also received a set of five storybooks. These were handed over to the children by Brenda Florence, the wife of Tony, who was a long-time contractor and friend of Breadline Africa.