Building a preschool outside of Cape Town – the first aid project of the foundation.
With the focus of the Foundation being education, an obvious starting point was building and supporting a safe environment for preschool children, where they can learn and develop. In collaboration with SAVE, one of our long standing partners in South Africa and the local community in Skandaalkamp, we have established the Sunshine Educare Centre. The community live behind a dump site close to Cape Town, with high unemployment, and the 180 plus children who live there, have few, if any, education opportunities. The only access to school is a bus that leaves at 6 am and returns at 3pm. Most of the adults have not completed school.
The KILROY foundation has built and supports Sunshine Educare, a preschool with three classrooms, a bicycle track and a large purpose built playground. These facilities promotes motor development and assists in the physical therapy of the many children living with foetal alcohol syndrome. Classroom activities include fine motor skill development, mathematics and literary development as well as all the other programs offered in a South African preschool.
In June 2015 the community of Skandaalkamp, along with 6 other settlements were moved by the city of Cape Town to an even more remote location called Wolwerivier. Sunshine Educare moved across with the communities and re-opened its doors in August 2015. Since then, the number of childern in care has doubled, as Sunshine Educare is still the only facility in the area.
Want to volunteer at Sunshine Educare in South Africa? Please visit KILROYs website.
In 2020 Sunshine wishes to become a registered school and join up with new partners in order to expand our services to meet the ever-increasing demands of our service area.
Sunshine started as a small childcare facility serving 82 children from 175 families. Since our start in 2013, we have moved to a larger community of over 450 houses. In 2019 there was further growth within the area and we now serve well over 5500 people within our community.
Due to the remote location of the settlement, employment is more and more difficult to find and the vast majority of families struggle to afford the most basics such as food. Children are malnourished and neglected. There is an increasing problem with substance abuse among adults and young people. Many of the residents are starting to turn to crime in order to put food on the table. People who were previously living honest, Christian lives, now sell drugs because it is the only thing they can do to earn a living.
Our main focus was always to feed, educate and care for the preschool aged children in an attempt to ensure their well being and care. We did so with the hope that a stronger foundation might assist the children in making smarter decisions and staying in school. We are realizing more and more that a stronger focus on the young people is becoming a necessity. Due to a lack of after school recreational activities, children as young as 10 are getting involved in drugs and crime. The simple truth is that there is no-one who is looking after them, caring for them, loving them and keeping them occupied.
Children come home from school to unsuitable environments where the only people with money to spare are those who are involved in crime. The criminals are making it seem like a desirable passtime which brings "riches".
The only way we will make a difference within the lives of these vulnerable children is by building a new premises that complies with statutory requirements so that we may start our youth center. The youth center will provide a safe place away from criminal elements, where children can do their homework, participate in sports, play and get a nutritious meal before going home at night to sleep.
Such a program would require a variety of volunteers to teach skills such as chess, soccer, netball, martial arts, self-defense and life skills. We would like to improve self-esteem development, math skills, language skills and create an interest in sciences. We would like a facility that has access to technology and wi-fi to teach the children basic computer skills, something they have no access to at all.
Although we show up every day with bright eyes and enthusiasm for the work we do, it is getting to a point where it is just not enough. This year we truly hope to reach the forgotten generations, those that have not had the benefit of Sunshine because it started after they were too old to attend. Those who, without our intervention, have limited chances of survival, let alone success.
With the continued support from our volunteers, we hope to phase this new project in within this year.
The structure and organization at Sunshine Educare has improved immensely, thanks to the great work of the volunteers. Each week, Sunshine interns create a schedule that divides the volunteers among the classes, to assist the teachers wherever they can. After their initial training day at SAVE, volunteers are given a day in each classroom, this allows them to get know the staff and gives them a better understanding of the school.
Every week, classes center around different themes. Over the past few months, themes have included fruits, fire safety and first aid. As part of the fire safety week, Sunshine and the children visited the local fire station where they learnt life-saving skills, had a fun ride in the fire truck and learnt exactly what to do in the case of fire, to ensure they’ll be as safe as possible. As part of the first aid week, they learnt about how to use the contents of a first aid kit and how to deal with basic injuries.
The first aid center on the Sunshine grounds also assists the community with basic care and has the privilege of a doctor visiting the room once a week to see patients with more serious illness.
It's with a warm heart that the Foundation announces the delivery of a brand new kitchen to Sunshine Educare.
International volunteers, members of the local community, SAVE staff and students from the school all came together to transform - what was originally a shipping container - into a fully functional kitchen where volunteers can prepare fresh vegetables, soups, and homemade bread.
In the past food was prepared by the local "Mama" in a makeshift pantry located a considerable distance from Sunshine Educare. This meant that food was carried by hand - frequently in the scorching heat, twice per day - and so didn't meet South African health codes.
One-half of the container also serves as a clinic for the children of Sunshine.
"...to make the head right & to think nicely...when you do clesh (class), your heart must be right..."
This was the message from the local "Mama" at Sunshine Educare as she explains why it's important for her students to have a healthy meal :) ... in her heart warming video about the new kitchen, below.
Like "heads shoulders knees and toes" one of the songs kids around the world love for actions and simplicity is..."the wheels on the bus go round and round," ...simple and effective.
The KILROY Foundation is happy to announce that we will now sponsor the purchase of a Bus and it's running costs for SAVE and Sunshine Educare. The bus will give the children in Wolwerivier the opportunity to get safely to and from school, and the opportunity to continue with their education after graduation.
As the bus will also enable the kids from surrounding farms to attend Sunshine Educare, we see this as a great chance for strengthening the community and the future of the younger generation.
We will also continue to support the daily running costs of Sunshine Educare and the salaries of the hard working staff.
"I'm literally in tears!
Thanks so much for the valued support!!"
- Carla Ferreira
The children of Sunshine Educare have a message they would like to share!
Over the past months, volunteer and community efforts have been taking place at Sunshine Educare.
Now with work almost finished, cultivation of the school's vegetable garden is almost ready for its first harvest. The garden contains spinach, watermelons, and potatoes among other plants and vegetables that are almost ready to crop.
Local residents of Wolwerivier and surrounding townships have been contributing to the garden. In exchange for their efforts, they've received tokens to the Ubuntu shop where they can purchase groceries and clothing.
Save Volunteering is also pleased to announce the construction of a new building, placed between two existing classrooms. Volunteers have almost finished adding a roof to the structure, which will serve as an outdoor play area during the week, and hold church services for the community on the weekends.
Volunteers have also been working tirelessly on laying a new concrete path, which will give the children a safe haven to ride their bikes and scooters.
Teachers too have been busy, cleaning out classrooms and organizing educational materials in preparation for the exciting school year 2016 ahead of us!
Despite initial worries, delays and weeks of preparation, Sunshine Educare has made the move from Skandaalkamp to its new setting in Wolwerivier .
Even with some minor speed bumps, there seems to be a new sense of pride and incredible energy within the community! Final move of the school buildings is expected to take place over the next week in preparation for school starting on the 20th July, as Carla Ferreira and her unbelievable team of colleagues and volunteers work to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“We are very excited about the future prospects of Sunshine Educare and all the opportunities this new location will give us to really make a tangible and sustainable difference in the lives of this community for generations to come!”
The new area for the camp has no playground, entertainment or activities for the children at the moment and is now the immediate priority for the camp’s staff and volunteers to put together. Construction of a new playground facility will also give the children the opportunity to play over the weekends too!
Additionally, with the move comes further joy and advancement as there is also priority to work on an extension of the school, which is said to accommodate triple the amount of children and surely put a smile on the students faces as they welcome their new classmates in the time to come.
You can see pictures and follow the camps progress on their brand new Sunshine Educare web site.
Sunshine Educare is expanding again. When we visited the pre-school in December 2014, the third classroom was built, and in January 2015, another playroom building and toilets have been built on the property. It is simply amazing to witness the development that Sunshine Educare is experiencing. The new playroom is especially needed in winter and rainy weather, when playing outside can be really cold and wet.
With another great expansion we ask ourselves, where will Sunshine Educare be in just 6 months time, or in 1 year? Only time will tell. Let’s end this positive post with a quote from the legendary Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Tonje from Bergen and Emma and Sepideh from Copenhagen went to visit Sunshine Educare in December 2014, and the experience was overwhelming. Reading about Sunshine Educare is one thing, but visiting the school and Skandaalkamp has touched our hearts forever. The new classroom had its grand opening during our stay, and we helped decorating it with Winnie the Pooh images and flags of the world. The enlargement of the school means that education will be more age specific as there is a classroom for the 0-2-year-olds, the 2-4-year-olds and one for the 4-6-year-olds improving the teaching experience for both children and volunteers.
During our visit we felt the love, hard work and dedication put into Sunshine Educare by volunteers and SAVE staff and we were reminded how important this project is for the people living in Skandaalkamp – a township behind a dump site.
The video editing is in process and we look forward to sharing our amazing experience with you.
As described in a previous update, the KILROY Foundation has decided to support an enlargement of the project by adding another classroom and a washroom. Also, a new teacher will become part of the project. Tonje, Sepideh and Emma from KILROY will visit Sunshine Educare in December and they will assist with the construction of the building, designing, and shopping for new school supplies and many other tasks.
All three girls are VERY excited about the enlargement of Sunshine Educare, and look forward to updating everyone with stories and photos from the project.
Klara from Iceland has spent 8 weeks at Sunshine Educare in the Summer of 2014, and her story touches our hearts. Read on.
“Around 250 families live in the village where the kindergarten is situated next to a garbage dump. There is no access to electricity, limited access to water and each toilet (non-flushing) is shared by 6 families. The children in the kindergarten are between 6 months and 6 years old. We played with the youngest ones and taught the older ones English, how to count and to know the colors, forms, animals, body parts etc. We gave them breakfast, lunch, and brushed their teeth. We played all kinds of games, both inside and outside.
This is without a doubt the best decision I´ve made in my life and I plan to return to Cape Town. I met people from all over the world, the kids I worked with were wonderful and I love them all. Each day I miss them more and more. I liked being in South Africa, the people are friendly and the environment is extremely beautiful. We always had the weekends off and I used them for sightseeing and having fun.
I started a fundraising for the kids on Facebook, asked my family and friends to help me and together we raised 127.600 ISK (around €800). I bought a special made wheelchair and all necessary accessories for one of the girls, 6 years old Miracle who is blind, hearing impaired and with reduced mobility. For the rest of the money I bought toys and teaching materials.”
Thanks to the opportunities provided through the sponsorship of classrooms and resources to the children of Skandaalkamp from KILROY Foundation, many more single mother families are becoming economically sustainable as they can now find gainful employment, knowing their precious little ones are well cared for in a safe and happy environment.
One mom, Kayla – who is just 17 years old, has now been able to return to High School as her little baby can be cared for every day by the friendly and loving volunteers who assist at the school.
This year, we have had a total of 54 children attending the school of which 8 are graduating to start Grade 1 at “big school” with a better chance of success thanks to the preschool stimulation they received at Sunshine Educare. The primary school teachers are very excited that they will be able to build on an already strong educational foundation, rather than beginning from scratch with children who have never been in a classroom environment.
Two local single mothers have been employed at the school as teachers/ care-givers and are now building on a stronger future for themselves. As student teachers, they have the opportunity to learn and qualify for a future career that will allow them to be able to seek employment and always have a skill they can rely on for an income.
The school also serves as the only community facility in the settlement where community leaders can have meetings about the important matters within their community, thus helping them build a stronger community for all residents.
The Sunshine Educare extension required entails the following:
The reasons for the extension is that surrounding settlements have approached us about enrolling their children into the facility as they also have no place of safety for their children which leaves the children at risk. It is not financially viable for us to open several preschools in some of these much smaller settlements and it would make more sense to enlarge our existing facility to accommodate those children. Furthermore, due to the high impact this centre has made in the community, more parents are enrolling their children and the numbers are increasing.
It is becoming very difficult to educate the children on their individual developmental levels with the current split which is 0 – 3 years and 3 – 6 years. Classes are getting too full for teachers to cope and I would suggest we split the children as follows: 0 – 2 years, 2 – 4 years and 4 – 6 years – this will allow a more focused curriculum and more age appropriate activities.
There is currently no toilet or washing facilities in the settlements which makes hygiene very difficult to maintain. We have been provided with 4 portable chemical toilets but there is no privacy for the children to use these facilities. An ablution room will allow us to construct small cubicles where the children can use the chemical toilets as well as erecting hand basins where they can wash hands and brush teeth. This is an important part of the preschool curriculum and important for hygiene of the children and volunteers.
This will enable us to reach out to more children to provide not only the education they need but also a safe, loving environment and two cooked meals per day – an essential part of their basic needs as many live in the care of substance abusers who do not care for their children.
Without the meals we provide, many of the children would not receive any nutrition.
Sunshine Educare is in its second year of providing quality education to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have had access. But it is so much more than just a preschool – it is an oasis of light and happiness in an otherwise dark and depressing place. Thanks to KILROY, our amazing volunteers and help from SAVE, it is a safe, happy and loving environment where children receive holistic care to help them reach their full potential.
Children like Amilla – a gorgeous 2 year old little girl, and her sister Liyema who is 5 years old. When we started our preschool, these two little girls were lucky to receive a single meal in a day. Liyema was so thin, you could have counted her ribs through her shirt…
For the first time in months, these two beautiful little girls receive two cooked meals per day. Gone are the days of malnutrition and going to bed hungry… They are growing, learning, laughing and they absolutely LOVE coming to school.
As the children of a drug addict, school is so much more than a place to learn, it is a place where they are hugged, loved, cared for and nurtured. Most days they walk themselves to school before the doors are even open, in search of that special place where they get to be two little girls for a few hours.
The impact this school has had on the lives of these children is about to grow! Their community is being relocated off the waste disposal site to a new area that they will share with a total of 450 families. Now, 130 preschool aged children will have the opportunity to find a place where they too can come to be little children. To eat two meals a day, laugh, be loved and grow to one day become successful adults who will have children of their own. Maybe, just maybe – being in such a loving environment will make them better parents for their own children one day, so that we can break the cycle of neglect and foster a community that nurtures and cares for their young.
THANK YOU KILROY! You could never fully understand the impact you have made in the lives of these children, but they live it every day!
With the help of our fantastic KILROY volunteers, we managed to raise R12 000 to put grass down on the area that was previously littered with glass, wooden thorns and sand. Now the babies can run barefoot, do cartwheels and play games on the lawn! Something they have NEVER done in their little lives.
The completion of this school has brought an oasis of happiness and light to an area that is depressingly drab and unsuitable for children to play. It was phenomenally well received by the community and a committee has been formed to ensure that the school remains safe, sustainable and that it operates well within the area. This committee was the initiative of the community and residents ensure that nothing happens to the school, the volunteers or the property.
Mothers often come to the school with their children and sit in the shade of the patio chattering away whilst children play, ride scooters and run around.
The impact this project has made on the community was immediate and tangible. No other project has ever made this much of an impact in such a short time!
Sunshine Educare officially opened its doors on Monday 20 January to 44 new pupils ranging in age from 3 months to 6 years. With the help of our two fabulous teachers, Julie and Esther as well as our Principal Thozama, we are providing a safe, loving environment, two cooked meals per day as well as a high quality curriculum based education to all the children who previously had no access to preschool care.
The children LOVE their new school and parents are relieved that there is now a safe and happy environment for their children, which allows them to look for employment outside with the knowledge that their children are well cared for!
There are two classrooms, a baby room for children 0 to 2 and a bigger classroom for children 3 to 6 where volunteers provide children with age appropriate stimulation. Activities include painting, counting, singing, structured play and crafting activities, all of which these children have never before had access to.
The local community are very excited about the centre and the whole area has been lifted by this investment in their future.
If you want to become a volunteer at Sunshine Educare visit KILROYs website.