Goal: R5,000.00 | Still Needed: R5,000.00 | Total Supporters So Far: 0 | Amount of People in Need: 36
There aren’t a lot of pre-schools around that have been taking care of children since the eighties. Phafoga Pre-School in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, has, and its team show no signs of stopping.
A good thing, since London – the corner of Bushbuckridge they call home – needs a good foundation for its children now more than ever.
Established by a certain Mrs. Chiloane in 1988, the centre was the only one of its kind for many years. Its purpose? To gather London’s young ones close and to give them space to develop in the right direction.
Though Mrs. Chiloane has passed away, the centre’s current manager knows how important it is to the community; her own children having grown up between Phafoga’s four walls.
Merriam Mashego started working here in 2010 and took over not long after.
These days, she and 6 other staff members – paid and voluntary – are the ones that continue Mrs. Chiloane’s legacy by cooking, teaching, and inspiring 36 of London’s children under 5. Here they are taught what a doctor is, and asked if they would like to become one; what a lime is and how to draw one; where they are comforted, sang to, and encouraged.
The team is located still in the very building erected by the community for this purpose over 30 years ago, which is touching but increasingly problematic. All of the children are taught and cared for in this one room – from the gurgling few-month-olds to the almost-ready-to-go-to-Grade-Rs – and it isn’t working.
They need more space.
School fees aren’t much but they help keep the lights on. The National Lottery has been a great help in 2019, donating R120 000 to Phafoga in February that year. This didn’t quite allow them to renovate their entire structure, but was being spread out to ensure that ends would meet for a few months.
It will run out soon, though, and Merriam and her team will be back at square one.
Photographer: Peter-Hugh Burrell from Hughsten Photography | Voice Artist: Malaika Jones | Writer: Ané Breytenbach
Type of Cause:Babies, Children and Youth, Development, ECD, Education