Viljoenskroon pre-schools benefit from R1.5 million upgrades sponsored by the IDC

Viljoenskroon pre-schools benefit from R1.5 million upgrades sponsored by the IDC

Viljoenskroon, Free State: 103 toddlers will today say goodbye to their days of attending creche in leaking and unsafe shacks. Today principal Puleng Mogale and her learners ushered in a brand new learning facility that boasts an insulated classroom, kitchen, and toilet facilities, as well as an office and sick bay, leaving behind four years of having to make do with the small hole-ridden shack which was home to Emmanuel Creche.

The partnership between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Breadline Africa, a non-profit organisation with a nearly 30-year track record in spearheading infrastructure support initiatives for early childhood development in Southern Africa, has brought hope to the community of Viljoenskroon which is tucked deep in the heart of the Free State.

“Education and skills development are at the core of our CSI strategy, and our partnership with Breadline Africa talks to this. The early childhood development (ECD) stage is a very critical period in children’s education. The IDC has taken a keen interest in ensuring that all children, especially those from rural and impoverished areas, have a good start in life. Children are our future and any society which is set to build a good future does so by investing in its youth,’ says Tshepo Ramodibe, the IDC’s Head of Corporate Affairs.

It is not only the children of Emmanuel Creche that have benefitted from the IDC and Breadline Africa’s partnership but those of their neighbouring pre-school, Atlehang Creche, which is a few kilometres away from Emmanuel. Facing the same structural and facility challenges as Emmanuel Creche, Breadline Africa also engaged principal Poppy Vosloo who started up Atlehang in 2019 to see how they could improve the state of her pre-school.

“We are grateful to both the IDC and Breadline Africa. Through them, we have not only created a safe and learning-friendly environment for our children, but we have also gained the ability to ensure the future of not only our current children but also those who will be joining us in years to come as we can now formally register and receive the ECD government grants for our children,’ says Puleng Mogale founder and the principal of Emmanuel Creche.

Many children in South Africa have no access to safe and adequate learning infrastructure. Early childhood development is the most critical period of growth in a person’s life and research shows that 90% of brain growth and development takes place before the age of five. South Africa has an estimated 6.5 million children under five years and more than 60% of them don’t have access to suitable ECD provisions. Nearly 45% of pre-schools cannot operate effectively because they lack the critical infrastructure to accommodate effective learning. This is also what largely has the unintended effect of preventing ECDs in marginalised areas from accessing much-needed government subsidies for sustainability.

For principals Puleng, Poppy, and their children, their future trajectory has changed and they will now for the first time have uninterrupted learning without having to worry about rainy and windy days stopping them from going to school.