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29 January 2008
bright new crèche where 100 toddlers will be guided through the early years of their development has become a showcase community project in the Seruabatho area of central Limpopo Province. It replaces a roof-less wreck of a building which gave the youngsters little shelter from the elements.
‘Going to school has now become a pleasure for these young children,” says Paul Deppe, managing director of concrete building products manufacturer Technicrete which supplied the bricks, roof-tiles and technical help for the new crèche. “The building in which they were taught and cared for previously was falling to bits, it had hardly any roof, and there was virtually no where to shelter from the wind and rain, or the cold or heat.”
The new Seruabatho nursery school – which cost R280 000 to build - is the inspiration of the Thusanang Trust, which has been involved in early childhood development practitioners for over 20 years.
“The crèche is just one of the latest of such projects in which we have been a part,” says Thusanang Trust’s Terry Morgan. “Over the years we have found that very poor conditions have made it very difficult for some practitioners to conduct training, while the safety of children and basic facilities such as water and toilets has always been a great concern.”
Thusanang is part of the Ntataise network, one of the country’s most highly regarded organizations in the field of early childhood development. It was identified as an ideal beneficiary of Concor Technicrete’s social responsibility programmes by CSI Africa, a company specializing in the management of corporate social investment budgets.
Terry Morgan says requirements at each Early Child Development (ECD) site, which the trust targets for improvement, are invariably different. “In some cases we have supplied them with resources such as furniture. In others we have repaired or added to whatever is there. The main upgrading we are involved in at the moment is building toilets, erecting fences, adding a verandah or small room onto an existing building, plastering, painting or putting in windows.”
Sometimes it has been a matter of starting from scratch. Two crèches which the trust decided were in need of major improvement were roughly fashioned from wood cut-offs and mealie meal sacks, so they could not be added on to. There was no alternative but to build new buildings which could be extended when required.