December 4, 2023

On 20 November 2023, in celebration of World Children’s Day, and as part of the SUCCEED partnership between HOPE worldwide South Africa and Massmart, the team from the brand-new Builders Express store in River Square, Three Rivers,  joined forces with the staff of HOPE worldwide SA. Together, they added vibrant and adorable children’s drawings to the freshly renovated Lehlohonolo Day Care centre in Tshepiso, Vereeniging. Additionally, through the partnership, the centre benefitted from repainting and repairing as well as installation of ceilings in five classrooms, the office, storeroom and toilets. The kitchen was also repainted and its ceiling upgraded and two adult toilets were replaced with two bambino toilets. Now tiles have been installed in the office and the door step has been fixed and painted. The centre also received a set of swings to add to the children’s entertainment!

These centre refurbishments, which happen in communities countrywide, make ECD centres safer and more conducive for learning and assist them to comply with the norms and standards of the Department of Basic Education (DBE). This was the sixth Builders store launch and ECD refurbishment this year.  

Builders is part of the Massmart group and staff from the store’s newly opened branch in River Square Shopping Centre loved helping to paint Lehlohonolo Day Care. Maqela Mbata, a Back Office Clerk at the store, said: “It’s exciting to be painting a crèche. I think I’ve found my other talent! It’s important to give back to the community and care for underprivileged people in our society in ways like this. As Builders, we don’t only serve the community with products, but serve to uplift them.”

On 21 November 2023, HOPE worldwide and Builders representatives, among numerous stakeholders, attended a ceremony to launch the revamp of Lehlohonolo Day Care.  They included Pastor Ramaema, Mr Sefatsa, the councilor; Senior Marketing Operations Manager at Builders, Munier Solomon; Phamphang Manoto, the Development Manager at the National Development Agency (NDA); Bobiki Sekete, the ECD Forum Chairperson; Ivy Rapoo, the Project Manager: Conditional Grant at the DBE and Naomi Koatla, the Franchise Manager at SmartStart amongst others.

Speaking at the launch, Principal of Lehlohonolo Day Care, Margaret Mokoena, expressed her appreciation for the beautiful makeover of her centre. “I started Lehlohonolo Day Care after seeing many children in our community not going to ECD centres,” she said. “I saw children eating out of dustbins and spending the day at the recycling ground with their mothers instead of benefitting from getting an education and making friends at creche. I received a calling from God to take care of these suffering children in 2016. Me and six other members of our ZCC church started Lehlohonolo Day Care which provides education and food to children between 0 and six years old.  Every child deserves to go to school. No child should be left behind.”

Margaret thanked her partner who assists to keep the centre running by paying for food for the 66 kids at the centre. He also remunerates the staff which include gardeners, two cooks, five practitioners and an administrator. “I thank God for the strength to keep going and for all Massmart’s support which has made a big difference.”

At the launch celebration, Munier Solomon highlighted Builders partnership with HOPE worldwide SA and the investment in early learning education.

Gloria Nkosi, HOPE worldwide SA’s Deputy Country Director, explained the organisation’s HOPE WW ECD Centre Network (HEN) which focuses on equipping ECD centres across South Africa with essential resources and skills necessary to meet DBE requirements for receiving subsidies. The network empowers ECD centres to provide quality education and care to the youngest members of our society, ensuring a brighter future for them.

The NDA works to support ECD centres by capacitating them in various ways including through provision of skills development training, which assists them to comply with DBE norms and standards for ECD centres as well as the DSD compliance requirements. Mr Phamphang Manoto indicated that many ECD centres don’t comply which makes it hard for them to access funding. He emphasised that the NDA works with strategic stakeholders to ensure ECD centres are compliant and will continue working with HOPE worldwide SA and other organisations to promote optimal child development.

As part of the event, the children of Lehlohonolo Day Care showcased their talents with a play and sweet singing, which was enjoyed by everyone in attendance.

At the end of the launch, Lehlohonolo Day Care and four other ECD centres in the area received LEGO educational toys, colourful tables and chairs all sponsored by Massmart. Additionally, they got food parcels generously sponsored by the KFC Add Hope initiative. Packed with nutritious food, including beans, samp, soup and more, they will give children the energy and nutrients they need to grow, play and learn.

The renovation of Lehlohonolo Day Care and additional support provided to them and other ECD centres will assist their children to have futures as bright as the centre they’re now in.