Mr Martin Setone, the principal of Retief Primary School welcomed the guests to the launch of a new early childhood development centre (ECD) and library and introduced the dignitaries in attendance. He thanked RustMo1 Solar Farm, the Industrial Development Corporation, Momentous Foundation and Breadline Africa for making this day a reality.

The project consists of four six-metre containers, joined as two classroom facilities; a 6m container subdivided into an office/sick bay facility;  a 12-metre container library with 1,500 books (jointly funded by Breadline Africa’s individual donors); fencing, a jungle gym; tables and chairs and educational material.

Retief Primary School lies 150km north-west of Johannesburg in a small community called Lapologang, near Marikana. Marikana made international headlines in August 2012 when police opened fire on protesting mineworkers striking for higher wages at the nearby Platinum mine. Thirty-four miners lost their lives and many were injured. More hardship faces the region as the main platinum mine recently announced that more than 5,000 workers would be laid off. Many mines are no longer economically viable and layoffs will have an even greater impact on the unemployment rate, currently at an 11-year high of 29%.

Momentous Energy developed RustMo1 Solar Farm, which was the first renewable energy independent power producer in SA as part of the Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. The project is situated in Marikana and began commercial operations in 2013.

Pravin Semnarayan, the CEO of RustMo1 explained: “We regularly conduct community development needs assessments to understand the requirements of the local community and to prioritise initiatives. A number of initiatives with a strong focus on education have been implemented.

Retief Primary School is a strong partner, and respected institution in the community having undertaken many educational focussed projects. We found that early childhood development was lacking in the local community, as there was no crèche for the young children who followed their siblings to the Retief Primary School. This prompted the establishment of an informal facility, but the school did not have sufficient resources to provide a formal centre.”

Marion Wagner, the Director of Breadline Africa said that it was an honour to be selected and trusted to complete this project. She thanked the IDC for introducing Breadline Africa to RustMo1 and wished Principal Setone and his staff every success in teaching the young children in their care and helping them on the path to a great future.

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