Basic education is fundamental to development in rural Africa. Little Flower has been extremely successful in creating an opportunity for around 200 children out of nothing. Learning in a corrugated iron shack is however no fun and our kids need a chance to learn in a proper building. We need your help! The Shacks to Bricks Project wants to build a proper school building of bricks and mortar to give these little children a better learning environment, where they can be protected from the freezing winter and blistering summer temperatures and have proper flushing toilets. We can no longer accommodate all the children in the temporary shacks and unsecured school grounds. They live in dire conditions in the informal settlements. It will be so wonderful if they can come to a comfortable school environment.
Sister Theodore, who is still working at the school, started the Little Flower Pre-School in 2001 as a Catholic Church social development project. The Pre-School is situated in the desperately poor informal settlement of Hani Park between Welkom and Virginia, in the Free State province of South Africa. Since we began the school, the children have been learning in informal shack structures with no proper sewerage facility and no running water. The numbers of enrolments go up every year. Since 2001, the enrolment has risen from eight children to 186 in 2013. Six teachers and a matron are employed to provide for the children’s pre-school education and nutritional care. The children receive two cooked meals daily and for most of them, this will be their only daily sustenance. Although the Little Flower Pre-School receives a state subsidy, it only covers 60 children and the balance of money needed is obtained from the donations made by the local community. They are increasingly unemployed and in dire economic straits.
“The Little Flower Pre-School has many needs, but the most important one is the need for a permanent structure in which we can give the children a safer and more effective learning environment. Shacks to Bricks is a project that we hope will fund the building of our 7-classroom school. We can no longer accommodate all the children in the temporary shacks and unsecured school grounds.
The Little Flower Pre-school Shacks to Bricks building project has been allocated 2000 m² of land next to the Hani Park Catholic Church by the municipality, for the school building. We have planned to build seven classrooms, a kitchen, secure storeroom and separate girls and boys’ toilets. We’ve planned to locate the toilets inside the building, so the children don’t miss learning time walking to the toilets that are so far away.
Educational research consistently confirms that children, who receive a solid pre-school education, enter formal schooling with a significantly higher chance of succeeding at school, and making a success of their lives. Neurological research confirms that children, whose cognitive development begins well before the age of 7 years, develop neural pathways that prepare them for the thinking required in adulthood.
If We raise more than Our target amount, this is how we will use the moneyOnce we have raised the money needed to complete the construction we will close this project as soon as possible. Should additional funds come in before the project can be closed on GlobalCaritas we will use those funds for operational expenses at Little Flower.
Danita Da Costa