Sunshine Educare started in 2012 in one of the shacks (makeshift dwellings) in Skandaalkamp. There was no safe place for children during the day whilst parents were out and no access to an educational facility prior to the age of 6 years old. This meant that children as young as 2 were left to care for themselves and older children were kept from school to watch over their younger siblings. Babies were left in the care of other children (as young as 5 years old) so that parents could try and earn a bit of money to put food on the table.
In June 2015 the people of Skandaalkamp moved to a new location called Wolverivier (River of Wolves). This settlement is situated on a remote road just off the N7 outside Cape Town. The settlement is made up of 6 communities who were moved here. The first residents were moved in June 2015 and the move is expected to be finalised in early 2016 although no confirmed dates have been provided by the City of Cape Town.
There are currently 300 occupied units and 166 unoccupied units which make up the total size of the new settlement.
There are currently very limited services available such as shops, clinic access, transport and other basic requirements. Housing consists of a corrugated iron, single room dwelling with a basin and an indoor toilet. Prepaid electricity boxes are in each unit but with the decreased access to employment, residents are unable to purchase electricity resulting in the use of flammable paraffin stoves or wood fire being utilised for cooking. Within one week of the move, the first fire destroyed one of the houses and the resident was hospitalised with 60% of his body covered in 3rd degree burns.
Thankfully, Sunshine Educare was given a piece of land to use and as such, we are still able to educate our young minds and help prepare them for their academic future. The move has seen the school grow from 60 children to around 100 and it has been said that we should expect that number to double by 2017.
Fortunately we have plenty of space to grow and with the help of the amazing volunteers, we are truly making a measurable difference in the lives of this community.
The preschool serves as a place where children can receive the nutrition they so severely lack for their growth and development. Due to the extreme poverty, several families survive on nothing more than dry white rice, maize porridge or bread without anything on it. With this poor diet, the children are often sick, do not develop as they should and suffer the long term effects of malnutrition.
With the preschool there, the children are now in the care of loving adults who play educational games and stimulate their young minds. They receive a cooked porridge and balanced lunch every day at school. The children are learning about social behaviour, hygiene, dental care and are treated with the respect and dignity every human being deserves.
The school currently has three classrooms: Age 0 to 2 years, 2 – 4 years and 4 – 6 years. Each class has an unqualified teacher who is a local, unemployed woman with a natural gift of working with children. The teachers translate for the volunteers and assist them to be able to work well with the children. They are also there to help maintain discipline in the classroom. Although it is illegal, many other preschools use hitting as a punishment but this is not allowed here. Teachers are carefully chosen and taught how to work with the children. Volunteers run the classes and can use initiative to use fun activities to teach the children.
If you want to teach with enthusiasm and use your own initiative to plan activities and fun ways for the children to learn – this is the project for you! We have an Educare resource file (and of course you have access to the World Wide Web) to assist volunteers in planning fun and age appropriate activities for the children!
Here you can truly make a lasting difference in the lives of these severely neglected and impoverished children.