The children and teachers of Sikhona Educare Centre were delighted to receive two classrooms, a kitchen and office, made possible by a generous donation from PNA.
Principal, Ntombi Nzunga established the pre-school in 1995 and by 2020, she had 58 children enrolled. Sadly, during the COVID-19 lockdown, their treasured classrooms were vandalised, reducing the school’s capacity to 35 and leaving some youngsters without a place to learn. The spacious property on which the pre-school is located can accommodate a much bigger pre-school, and despite the negative impact of the pandemic, the need for quality early education remains high in this resource-poor community. Since there were no proper kitchen facilities on site, Ntombi cooked from her home for the children.
Everything changed on 30 June 2022, when the new facilities were officially opened. Representing PNA, Marketing Manager, Chantelle Fritz said: “We know how important it is to support education in our country. We want to thank Breadline Africa for creating the opportunity to make a real difference in children’s lives for many generations to come. There are two things that are important in education. The first is the teachers and staff and wee need educators who inspire children. To principal Ntombi, you have an immensely important job. We hope that these upgraded facilities allow you to keep on doing the amazing work you are doing. The second thing needed is a safe and clean environment which we are very happy to have been able to sponsor.”
Professor Eric Atmore, a Breadline Africa board member who attended the launch added that there was so much turmoil in the world at present, “but occasions like this make one energised and filled with hope”. He went on to say that Sikhona is one of 40,000 ECD centres in South Africa and its teachers form part of nearly 200,000 teachers working in early learning centres around the country. He congratulated them for their dedication and for the great difference that they make in the lives of the children.
Marion Wagner, Breadline Africa Director added her congratulations: “We are honoured to be a part of Sikhona Educare Centre’s journey. During the lockdown, so many pre-schools suffered. You suffered a lot of vandalism during the lockdown and sent out a call for help. We want to thank PNA for responding to that call and turning this centre into an amazing pre-school, where generations of children will benefit.”
Ruth Lucas from the Department of Education thanked Ntombi for giving the children a better start and added that she thought that South Africa’s next president could well be a current learner at the pre-school!
She added her thanks to Breadline Africa and PNA for their support and involvement in the project.
Ntombi Ndzinga, the principal of Sikhona Educare Centre had the last word: “A very big thank you to Breadline Africa and their team and PNA for their generous donation. We have wonderful new facilities for our children, and we are very happy.”