Giving young children a safe place to learn and play, transformed classrooms and sanitation facilities are changing futures in a province struggling to break the cycle of poverty.
How do you learn when your tummy’s rumbling and the roof is leaking? It’s a tough ask for so many children in struggling communities, where access to basic resources and a safe learning infrastructure has been far out of reach. Now, thanks to a much-needed funds boost (to the tune of close to R600 000), more young learners will enjoy safe places to play and learn.
Joining forces with Breadline Africa to help improve access to education, Builders and MySchool have focused their efforts on the Eastern Cape — delivering 3 Classrooms, 3 Offices, 3 Kitchens, 5 Pour Flush Toilets, 2 Water Tanks, 3 Handwashing Stations and 3 Classroom Library Units (with story books)! United in the belief that every child has the potential to do something amazing with their life, these funds have transformed 8 preschools into full centres with classrooms and toilets.
Why infrastructure is so important
While resources like classrooms and toilets may seem basic for most, close to half of South Africa’s Early Childhood Development Centres lack the facilities they need to encourage effective learning.
In the Eastern Cape — one of South Africa’s most impoverished provinces — over a third (36%) of all Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) cannot register for government subsidies due to inadequate infrastructure. In fact, most youngsters find themselves in unsafe, cramped conditions where it’s hot in summer and cold in winter.
These vital play-and-learn centres (serving around 250 000 children) are often set up by passionate people dedicated to community development. Yet they’re often forced to operate out of single mud structures with no toilets.
A boost where it’s needed most
As well as building new facilities and improving access to sanitation, the latest funds injection has seen local job creation and skills development getting a welcome lift during building — while giving more children from struggling communities access to learning.
In line with the UN’s sustainable development goals, these efforts are helping make a better life for all in South Africa — where 60% of children live in poverty, 7 million don’t have access to clean water or flushing toilets and 14% of children experience regular hunger.
And breaking the cycle of poverty begins with quality education, through:
Quality preschool facilities
Preschools give children a place to prepare for primary school. That means having access to safe classrooms for playing and learning, and a kitchen for staff to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. To improve hygiene and sanitation, water tanks save and store precious water — while pour flush toilets (installed with a handwash station on the outside) cleverly take used water to flush the toilet cistern.
4.7 million South Africans are illiterate with only 35% of children aged 12 being able to read. By turning shipping containers into functional libraries, children now have the opportunity to enter the wonderful world of reading.
Enabling futures at the breadline
For almost 30 years, Breadline Africa has been providing infrastructure and initiatives to support childhood development in Southern Africa. To date, more than 660 converted shipping containers and prefabricated units have been built in poor communities across the country to create safe learning spaces. It’s goal: to hit the 1000 mark by the end of 2023 — benefiting more than 250,000 children.