On Monday, 8 April 2019, Masiqhubeke Educare Centre was the grateful recipient of two six-metre converted shipping containers that had been joined to form one large classroom. Funding for the structure was provided by Breadline Africa’s generous individual donors.
The centre was established in 1990 in Zweletemba settlement, which is located just on the outskirts of the town of Worcester in the Western Cape. Zweletemba is an informal settlement for non-nationals (economic refugees) seeking jobs in the local wine farms. The languages spoken include Xhosa, Shona, Sesotho and Afrikaans.
Prior to the donation of the classroom, the babies were housed in a room that had been sub-divided into a kitchen and this arrangement was considered by the local authorities to be dangerous for the children They have been encouraging the principal, Joan Mqela, to make improvements for the past 18 months. The newly-placed container classroom will be dedicated to the babies, all 30 of them. The Do More Foundation routinely supports the centre and is currently raising funds to provide furniture such as baby cots for the new classroom.
The centre has 147 children registered and 30% are those of teenage moms who attend Vusisizwe Secondary High School, located close to the centre. Another 40% are the children of alcoholic parents. Many of these parents are wine farm labourers – in an area where the farming season runs from September to April. As such, the principal is anticipating less income in monthly fees for the next couple of months.
The principal is ensuring succession planning by employing her niece, who is currently the deputy principal and will take over the day-to-day running of the centre in 2020. Joan says that bringing her niece into the centre was the best decision she ever made.
Masiqhubeke Educare will be celebrating 20 years in 2020, so there is a long track record, history and vast experience at the centre. My Luthando Yayi, a Ward 18 council member spoke about the positive work undertaken at the facility. He said that the pre-school has become the hub of all activity in the neighbourhood. We wish Joan and her dedicated team a long and happy journey at Masiqhubeke Educare Centre!