The dawning of a new era
It is with bittersweet feelings that I reflect on this crossroads in the journey of Sunshine Educare. After 6 years of working within Skandaalkamp settlement, we leave the dumpsite this week for a new location.
Along with a total of 7 settlements, we are relocating to a site known as Wolwerivier (River of wolves). The move will officially start on Tuesday 30 June 2015 – a day I will never forget. The move brings with it a series of complications for myself and the communities I represent in the greater world.
Families with multiple members will be moved into single-roomed dwellings too small for most to live comfortably. A single bed shall have to be shared by up to 8 people including siblings, parents and grandchildren.
Animals are being moved without any shelter being provided.
Electricity is being supplied on a pre-paid basis to people who are mostly struggling to put food on the table.
Bathrooms consist of a not-yet installed shower and a toilet. The shower will have no hot water.
There are several issues that cause me to dread this move!
Fortunately, the move of the preschool is a full positive! We will have more land and the school will be ideally located to provide more children access to education!
In fact, we are set to grow from 60 students to 250 students over the next two years – a massive growth that will keep us on our toes! Fortunately, this growth and relocation also means that we will be able to start the registration process for our preschool as soon as we are set up in the new location.
This process will require us to acquire more buildings and more teachers. The setup of the preschool will require us to put the children in their proper age categories which means a classroom for infants, one for 18 months to 3 years, 3 years to 4 years, 4 years to 5 years and Grade R (5 years to 6 years). We will essentially require 5 classrooms (we currently have 3) but then we are also restricted to a certain amount of children per classroom. Should we exceed the amount of children per age category, we will require extra classrooms to split the children. Each classroom requires a separate teacher and assistants. We will only know our student numbers when school reopens in July as all of the new students still have to register with us.
Fortunately our amazing volunteers serve as wonderful assistants! With their support, we are able to provide the children with a great education on par with their more privileged peers.
We will also be expanding our settlement project to accommodate all the new work needed to uplift the new community to a self-sustainable level. Our NPO will be in charge of the vegetable garden and animal populations within the settlement which means we can now take volunteers who wish to work exclusively on agriculture and animals. Skills development and social work interns can know participate in community upliftment through education of adults, teaching employment creation skills, teaching parenting skills to lower neglect and abuse and beautification projects to increase pride in the living area.
Sports development will also become a stronger focus as we will now have more than 460 families which means more children to make up proper teams with regular practise and participation.
It is with great challenges that we wish to plan for our own cluster housing for foster and orphaned children with the added benefit of providing occasional accommodation to children from abusive homes. It will provide a safe place to spend the night when there is substance abuse or domestic violence at home. No longer will the children need to canvass the community for a neighbour willing to take them in for the night. This is a long way away still but the new settlement will allow us the opportunity to explore the avenues I have always wished to have for the amazing children I work with!
With these ambitious plans we will finally be able to make a dent in the desperate conditions in which these people live every day in the hopes that it provides the children with a better future!
For now – for the next few weeks – we will start with a single step! Our focus will be to get our preschool from Skandaalkamp to Wolwerivier. This will require hard work, long hours and a lot of manual labour but hey – our babies are absolutely worth it! We will document the process every step of the way and share the journey right here on our wonderful new website!