(Humansdorp) – After being burned to the ground three years ago, Nkqubela Crèche in KwaNomzamo township has been completely reconstructed to become a leading centre for Early Childhood Development in the Kouga region.
Rebuilt at a cost of R2.2 million by Kouga Wind Farm, which is located 15km away, the crèche is set to provide essential pre-school education for more than 100 disadvantaged children between the ages of 12 months and five years.
Speaking at the official re-opening on Friday (November 18), school principal Nomalungelo Margaret Mtsele said her mission was to provide a safe, happy environment in which each child could reach their full potential.
An emotional Mtsele said she did not have the words to express her gratitude to the wind farm for “their hard and beautiful work”.
“Our motto says, ‘When the sun rises, there is light.’ Today, I feel the sun has arrived.
“This building is every practitioner’s dream and a palace for kids. It’s for us, the people of KwaNomazamo. Its safety and future depends on us; we must build this place together.”
After the fire, Mtsele opened her own home to her pupils, running a makeshift centre from a wendy house and garage. The cramped quarters provided less than ideal learning conditions and the children’s play area was on the street.
After obtaining the necessary municipal approvals, Kouga Wind Farm brought in local contractors to handle the site clearance and building work, which created 42 temporary jobs over the course of the six-month project.
The newly renovated Nkqubela, which means “progress” in Xhosa, now boasts three fully equipped classrooms, a kitchen and scullery, bathroom facilities, a store room and offices for the staff. The playground area, which is now enclosed by a security wall, was also redeveloped to include a bicycle track, jungle gym and swings.
Mtsele received municipal approval to operate the new crèche facility at the end of October. Friday’s launch event was a proud moment for her as it also doubled as the Grade R graduation ceremony, during which 26 little ones received diplomas proving their readiness for “big school”.
Kouga Wind Farm chief executive Lukhanyo Ndube said the revamped facility was a clear indicator of the company’s continued commitment to the community.
“Kouga Wind Farm intends to create a legacy of self-sustaining communities. We are not here to impose ourselves on the community but rather to collaborate and engage with the people and the municipality, to create partnerships that meet their goals.”
Ndube said investing in Early Childhood Development was crucial if the wind farm was to make an impact in terms of improving education and skills development in the region.
“We hope that the children will look forward to coming to school in an environment that motivates and stimulates them. We need to develop innovative and creative minds who see opportunities within problems and who will lead this country going forward.”
Kouga Municipality has committed itself to the maintenance and upkeep of the building. Local businesses have also rallied behind the project, with the wind farm’s turbine supplier Nordex donating R50 000 worth of equipment and other corporate sponsors such as Woodlands Dairy and SPAR Humansdorp providing support.