A Grand Achievement
Hitting their target this year of building 1000 preschool units, Breadline Africa celebrates its 30th birthday in true giving style.
Five years ago, Breadline Africa’s team set themselves an ambitious goal – to grow their modest number of preschool infrastructure units from 400 to 1,000 in just five years — to celebrate 30 years since their founding in 1993. The renovated containers and prefabricated units are used as classrooms, kitchens and toilets at early childhood development centres and as feeding kitchens and libraries at primary schools.
And just a month and a half into the year, Breadline Africa did it — celebrating the launch of its 1,000th infrastructure unit at Pooh Bear Educare in Delft, Cape Town. The South African-based non-profit organisation believes that every child has the capacity to do something amazing with his or her life — by providing initiatives and infrastructure to support childhood development in Southern Africa.
In partnership with GROW Educare, and with funding from MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, Breadline Africa made it possible for the pre-school to receive three new classrooms and a jungle gym. This, to add to the 60m2 prefabricated classroom and two 6m containers converted into a kitchen and toilet facility.
Pooh Bear Educare was established in 2009 by Michelle Davids, who is passionate about caring for the children in her community. She began looking after just a few children from Blikkiesdorp who were left at home, unsupervised. As more children began arriving, she completed a first aid course and then a course in early childhood development.
Running the facility from her home was not ideal. As the number of children grew, Michelle applied to make use of nearby land that was being used as a dumping site. Her husband was able to secure a loan, and Pooh Bear Educare received the title deed to their new home. This process stretched their meagre resources to the limit, so Michelle approached Breadline Africa for assistance to build a new centre. And so the journey began. “These new classrooms will help us accommodate more children. It is a great burden that has been taken away and allows us to focus on the quality of education we provide the children at Pooh Bear.”
Jonathan Jansen, Professor of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, spoke passionately about the need to “care for the youngest among us, the smallest, the most vulnerable, in fact, that is why we are all here and I thank you for that.” And went on to say that research in education agrees on one thing: “the investment in the foundation phase and in early childhood has positive benefits over the long term.”
Breadline Africa director, Marion Wagner said: “We believe that every child has the capacity to do something phenomenal with his or her life, given support and development opportunities. Through our infrastructure and in collaboration with partners like GROW Educare ,we aim to create measurable impact in addressing school readiness and access to safe pre-schools. According to the ECD Census 2021, nearly 70% of South African children under six are not enrolled in any early learning programme.
“Safe infrastructure is the costliest aspect for pre-school principals. In addition, we cannot address the current school dropout rate of 50% if children are not sufficiently ready to enter primary school. Equipping pre-schools together with our partners, will make a difference in preparing our children to succeed in school and into the future. Education is a path out of poverty.”
Tracey Chambers, CEO of GROW Educare Centres, stressed the importance of partnerships between non-profit organisations in the ECD sector: “By working together, rather in than in silos, we are maximising impact for children and small business owners in South Africa.”
MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet General Manager Pieter Twine said that the establishment of the new facilities at Pooh Bear Educare is thanks, in part, to the millions of programme members who give back – at no cost to themselves – with every swipe of a MySchool card at partner retailers. “We continue to prove – after decades of success and with thousands of supported causes – that every swipe counts.”