A group of NCCF volunteers spent Saturday 16th March visiting 9 daycare centres and pre-schools that we assist in Protea Glen Soweto. We were welcomed with hugs from little children, teachers, care-givers and parents alike.
The principals from each school took us to the next centre, which made our travel quick and easy. There are 3 facilities that require renovations, alterations and maintenance from NCCF’s trusty builder and he has already been asked to supply quotes. It was a joy to see the work done by the centres through their own efforts to improve their facilities by way of fundraising and support of parents. This means that they are not just relying on NCCF to support them. Numbers in most of these facilities have increased, but there are still many parents who cannot afford full fees and some none at all. Zakheni Early Learning reported that the situation in their area is so bad that some children are sent home with food parcels.
The general requests that we received included heaters and blankets for the coming winter, a broken VCR which will be replaced, microwave, fridge and educational material are also on the wish list. Tholulwazi Day Care continues their support of the children in the Waterwax Squatter Camp where we were taken on a heart-wrenching visit. The poverty is in the extreme and we were surrounded by more than a 100 children begging for sweets. The tiny hall in the middle of the camp is where the Tholulwazi team try to drop off almost daily meals to feed the children, this done largely through funds raised by the staff of the day care and support from other day care centres in the area. NCCF were approached to assist with school uniforms, stationery and school bags for 51 children who were sent home from their local schools because they were not properly dressed. We went to Jet, Maponya Mall where we purchased all the required clothing and school bags, and then next door to C.N.A. where we purchased stationery. The pride of the children as they fitted their new clothes and posed for us was greater than the expense.
The conclusion of our visits resulted in a treat from the heads of each centre when they insisted in taking us to lunch to thank NCCF for their continued support. We were taken to the base of the Orlando bungee towers in the heart of Soweto with entertainment, refreshments and mounds of food.
We look forward to 20th April when our travels through Soweto continue as we have a further 8 orphanages, safe houses, special needs facilities and outreach centres to visit in this area.