On Thursday, 7 April 2022, children, staff, and parents of Phathekile Pre-school, located in Hlolweni in the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Municipality in rural Eastern Cape, received a new school facility from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa Limited. Phathekile Pre-school was established in 2010 by a parent, with help from a former primary school teacher.

The pre-school was initially granted permission to operate from a piece of land alongside the primary school, where a corrugated iron structure served as its classroom. Recently, this classroom was condemned as unsafe, and the 48 children registered at Phathekile Pre-school were temporarily accommodated at the primary school.

News that Breadline Africa had secured funding from the IDC to build a new Early Childhood Development (ECD) facility was met with shock and gratitude from ECD staff, parents, and the primary school community.

Breadline Africa was delighted to attend the official opening of the new facility, along with TebogoMolefe, IDC Head, Corporate Social Investment and Thandekile Sibeko, IDC CSI Coordinator. Addressing guests, Tebogo commended parents for prioritising their children’s education and stressed the importance of ECD practitioners and parents working together to ensure that children are sufficiently prepared when they transition to primary school. She also emphasised that it is IDC’sobjective to continue to support access to early learning opportunities in remote and under-resourced communities like Hlolweni.

Diane Laugksch, Breadline Africa’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, thanked the IDC for supporting this important project which she explained forms part of a broader strategy to upgrade ECD centres in rural Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Diane explained that because of IDC’s support, Phathekile Pre-school now meets all infrastructure requirements to secure registration with the Department of Basic Education. Once registered, Phathekile will qualify to receive a government subsidy which is crucial for ensuring long-term sustainability of this centre, said Diane.

Phathekile Pre-school now boasts a new brick and mortar building with a safe classroom and toilet facilities. Provision has also been made for separate kitchen and office areas. This ECD centre will continue to serve as a feeder to the primary school and will continue to be supported by Impande, Breadline Africa’s Eastern Cape partner, to strengthen their early learning programme.

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