Ceres in the Western Cape is best known for its deciduous fruit farming. The fertile Warmbokkeveld valley in which the small town sits, is situated some 170 km away from Cape Town. Vrolike Vinkies Pre-Primary Educare Centre is located on the outskirts of the small farming town.

The centre has 130 pupils and is dedicated to the inclusion of children with special needs from the surrounding community. There are currently 27 children with disabilities, ranging in ages from 2 to 16 years, registered at the preschool. A dedicated classroom has been on their wish list, in order to give these children the best learning environment dedicated to their needs. Together with Perdekraal East Wind Farm, a 60m2 prefabricated classroom with wheelchair access was officially handed over to the principal of Vrolike Vinkies on Friday 6th November 2020.

A wonderful, socially distanced celebration took place on Friday morning as members of the community, parents and excited children waited to see their new classroom. Mzwabantu Ngolo, the Community Development Supervisor for the Department of Social Development, kicked off proceedings by thanking each role player and the various partners on this project for enhancing the department’s programmes aimed at children with disabilities. He emphasised the impact that these partnerships have at a community level, where it matters most. Andeline Coetzee, the principal of Vrolike Vinkies Educare Centre, exclaimed how this classroom was a dream come true for her, the children, and the community as a whole. She explained how the school had nine children with disabilities in their first year, 20 children by the end of their second year and they now have 42 children with disabilities on the waiting list to
be registered at the school.

Andeline expressed that the need for space for these children was critical and sorely lacking in the Witzenberg Municipality of the Western Cape. She thanked both Perdekraal East Wind Farm and Breadline Africa for making this a reality for her centre.Mr Thor Corry, a representative from Old Mutual, one of the largest stakeholders in wind farm projects, including Perdekraal East Wind Farm, praised the event organisers for making the event possible in these challenging COVID times. He emphasised how proud Old Mutual is of its socio-economic development projects, and what these investments bring to communities in need.

Diane Laugksch, Breadline Africa’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, complimented the various role players on how they came together to make this project a success. Diane acknowledged the years of effort and perseverance that has gone into making the Vrolike Vinkies classroom a reality and thanked the pre-school for inviting Breadline Africa to share in their joy and in making their dream come true.

Just before a Cape storm blew in, the children of Vrolike Vinkies delighted the guests with a song. They danced in joyous celebration before everyone hurried inside to explore their new classroom and all that it has to offer. As the children engaged in various puzzles, books and toys, Atricia Mouton, a parent, shared with us how this classroom would allow many children in the community with special needs, the opportunity to come to the pre-school and learn, including her 8-year-old son who now has even more opportunities to thrive.

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