There was huge excitement on Mandela Day 2019 when Breadline Africa, True North and RICTS Holdings Pty Ltd came together to hand over three new classrooms as well as a toilet and kitchen facility at Bright Morning Star Educare Centre. This infrastructure was made possible through the generosity of Mr D Murrell – a long standing Breadline Africa donor.

Bright Morning Star Educare Centre was established by Doris Khoza in January 2017 in response to the high number of pre-school children that she saw playing daily on the streets of Vrygrond. Doris sought permission from a church in Plum Street to erect a shack on their land, from which she then established and ran her centre. Doris also connected with True North, a local non-profit ECD training and resource organisation, and is now one of 40 centres in Vrygrond, who receive ongoing on-site training and mentoring support.

The refurbishment of Bright Morning Star Educare Centre is the first project being undertaken under the recently established Breadline Africa/True North partnership. Going forward, True North will continue to support the Centre, in an effort to secure registration with the Department of Social Development. RICTS Pty Ltd not only treated the children to lunch on the day, but also sponsored security gates, fencing, stationery, toys and tables and chairs for the classrooms.

Diane Laugksch, Breadline Africa’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, said that is was very fitting to be opening Bright Morning Star on Mandela Day, as the transformation of the centre was a wonderful example of just how much can be achieved when people come together to make SA a better place. She acknowledged the extra effort put in by RICTS, whose staff “adopted” this facility as their Mandela Day initiative, as well as True North for their ongoing commitment to improving the lives of children at so many ECD centres in the Vrygrond/Overcome Heights community. Vicky Kumm, managing director of True North acknowledged the role of the local ECD Forum, represented on the day by Faronane Johnston, and applauded the way in which ECD Centres in the community support one another.

Doris Khoza, the principal, gave an emotional speech thanking everyone for helping her to realise her dreams. She spoke about how at times, when she felt so tired and worn down, she knew she could keep going with all the support at her side and now, where everything is in place, she feels like a young woman again! But she knows that one day, this amazing gift which arrived on her birthday, will be transferred to someone else to help many more children and her legacy will live on.