October 2020 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The much anticipated Spring in South Africa is finally here! The trees are sprouting and the unique fynbos in the Western Cape is in full bloom – including the beautiful Protea, the SA national flower. We can hardly believe our good fortune because the dams around Cape Town are 98% full overall and, at the same time, South Africa is now on level 1 of Corvid 19 lockdown. Hooray!!

This means that all kindergartens are finally open and the children can be minded all day AND provided with healthy meals. We have been waiting for this for such a long time, it seems. On the first day after lockdown was lifted, more than half of the 300 children at Little Lambs in Hout Bay returned. After completing the requirements for measuring everyone’s temperatures, disinfecting and report-filling, the little ones stormed into their classrooms where they were greeted and welcomed by their teachers. The mask-wearing does not seem to bother the children much; they sang along to the cheerful welcoming song without masks but, before the first lesson began, the masks were all back in place.

A similar scene happened at Heuwel Speelskoof in Calitzdorp. Here 158 children returned – all happy and beaming because they are back and can see their friends again. 14 children have not returned due parents being unemployed and thus unable to pay the small fees but at least they are at home to look after their children. Because of the necessary ‘social distancing’, everyone is divided into two groups who attend kindergarten on alternating weeks.

The kindergartens at True-North in Overcome Heights are also very busy after the reopening. The number of children cared for in the various kindergartens is significantly lower than, for example, at Little Lambs or Heuwel Speelskool. An average of 45 out of 60 children sit happily in their chairs and, at first glance, seem to be starting back where they left off 6 months ago. And yet everything is so different!! There is a lot of catching up to do and what is required now is imagination and flexibility which is not so easy for everyone involved. The spontaneity and joy, as well as the affection and openness with which most children from the townships approach visitors and friends, is suddenly forbidden …. and this makes us sad. We try to teach the children ‘social distancing’ in a playful way – always in the hope that this unnatural condition will not last and is only temporary.

For children, especially at this tender age, it is particularly important that they play, sing, romp, hug, tease, laugh and be happy together – so that this happiness is increasingly reflected in the lives. It is wonderful to witness this enjoyment in their big, bright, shining eyes. We thus gladly accept this challenge and do everything we can to ensure that the little ones can continue to be safe and experience this special time in their lives.

Despite all the joy about the reopening, the kindergartens continue to face major challenges because, since the lockdown, hardly any school fees were paid and many parents cannot make even a contribution because they are now unemployed.

Due to this devastating situation, the lack of parental income impacts on the children’s access to education, nourishing food and access to the environment of the kindergarten which keeps them safe and away from misery and crime on the streets.

Your donations can help us to help the children to come back to the kindergartens.

All the parents, children and teachers , plus of course Marlis and myself, thank our generous sponsors from the bottom of our hearts.

Warm regards