CURRENT DURBAN PROJECTS
A PRESCHOOL UPGRADES AND INSTALLATIONS
All the schools we install have maintenance or upgrade needs from time to time. In these instances we involve corporates looking for CSI opportunities or we fund the work ourselves.
UMZAMO DAY CARE CENTRE –Preschool and Creche
Feed the Babies introduced Chic Mamas to Umzamo Day Care Centre in 2015. They considered it deserving of assistance and offered us the opportunity to make a difference. We were taken to a dilapidated wood and iron shack that flooded with every rain, had little ventilation, and had been rebuilt once due to a fire that blazed through the informal settlement. There we met the amazing Nomusa Dlungwana who single-handedly cared for up to 20 children, 6 days per week, aged from 3mths to 6yrs. Whilst the children were being safely baby sat, there was no awareness of the need for developmental stimulation, and under those trying circumstances it simply wasn’t possible.
Fast forward to 2020, and Umzamo is now a fully functional preschool and crèche. It is positioned on a spacious site on the edge of the informal settlement. Safely fenced, it consists of three classroom structures, 2 play areas, a water-harvesting system and ablutions. Nomusa has employed 2 full time assistants from the community to help her care for the 54 joyful little learners.
Nomusa has completed three years of accredited ECD training to achieve her National ECD Diploma and assistant teacher, Thalente Dlungwana, is currently in her second year of the same course.
We watch in amazement as this school continues to thrive and give hope to their community.
HOUSE OF HOPE COMMUNITY CENTRE – Preschool
The supervisor of House of Hope, Maureen Dlamini, approached Chic Mamas in early 2016 for assistance. She was caring for 35 children in a 4m x 5m room in her home and requested help with larger premises. After a period of assessing Maureen and considering options available for a better facility, the community committee and ward councilor offered Maureen a plot of level land for a preschool installation.
After many challenges, the new House of Hope preschool opened in November 2017. It is fully fenced, for security and safety and Chic Mamas installed a large 12m converted container classroom and water harvesting system. The beautiful playground equipment was sponsored by SA HOME LOANS and waterless ablutions were sponsored by Envir-Loo. Awnings and shade covers have subsequently been added to House of Hope.
The school is located near a very disadvantaged informal settlement with high unemployment. It is a fair distance from Maureen’s previous ‘school’ so many parents were unable to afford to taxi their children to the new school. Pupil enrolment is limited by fee affordability and a lack of understanding in the new community, of the crucial importance of early childhood development. Maureen has completed the first module of her ECD diploma which will equip her to input and assist her pupils to be school ready. She has employed an assistant who has completed her ECD diploma.
This is a challenging project but the potential for change is huge and we are ever- hopeful for major breakthrough.
ZAMOKUHLE PRESCHOOL AND CRECHE
After appealing to Durban Chic Mamas for help, Zethu Mbali waited patiently for two years until, in January 2019, we were able to meet with her. There was an immediate connection with Zethu and we knew this was a situation where we wanted to get involved. Zethu’s humility, and dedication to helping the children of her community since 2003, won us over. The school used the small corrugated iron “community hall” on weekdays and had to pack everything away over weekends for functions. With no safe play area, and only communal ablutions some distance away, this was far from ideal.
From day one, this project rolled out with favour at every turn.
By mid July 2019, within a month of the land being levelled, the new Zamokuhle preschool was installed and operational. Grants from MySchool Card, LUSH SA and CMH, together with Chic Mamas funding, has produced a vibrant preschool consisting of one 12m and one 6m converted container classroom, waterless ablutions, a playground with amazing equipment and astroturf, a water harvesting system, and all safely fenced.
Within a month, pupil enrolment increased from 18 to 34 and continues to grow. Due to the numbers, the baby crèche has remained in the community hall and all other preschoolers are in the new preschool.
Zethu has employed three assistants. One has completed her Educare Training, one has begun training through the council and Zethu began her first year at Caversham Education Institute in Feb 2020. We watch in awe as this journey unfolds.
SEKUSILE DAY CARE
Sekusile Day Care is our latest project – as of February 2021. This vibrant school serves a large community and has existing infrastructure. The supervisor values oversight and mentoring and is highly motivated to see this school upgraded to provide the best possible opportunity to each pupil.
We look forward to sharing their journey.
- ECD ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING OF TEACHERS
There are several ex preschool teachers on the Durban team and a core group regularly visit the schools to give encouragement, direction and to pick up on any areas of need.
Unless teachers are adequately equipped, they are unable provide their preschoolers with the vital stimulation and early development children need for school readiness. We believe that our best means of impacting the greatest number of preschoolers, is through properly trained teachers.
For this reason, we prioritise sponsorship of training for the teachers at the schools we install.
This training is in the form of the three year accredited National Diploma in ECD through Caversham Education Institute, and through ongoing training courses offered by CCRC (Communities, Children and Responsible Care)
One of our objectives is for our school supervisors to become empowered to function independently of Chic Mamas. Post installation, we walk alongside the schools for a limited period, assisting where necessary and guiding them in areas where skills or knowledge is lacking. This covers NPO regulations and returns, PBO registration, SARS requirements, compulsory DSD registrations, grant applications, budgeting and fundraising. Fortunately we have been able to access pro bono assistance in many areas. Once the above requirements have been worked through, our team gradually withdraws and the the supervisors are expected to follow through on their own.
- ENTREPRENEURIAL PROJECT
In the communities associated with the schools we’ve installed, there are many unemployed women. Additionally, the schools need to raise additional funds.
The Durban team bags and sells jumble/unsold stock for a nominal amount to the women and to schools. All monies we receive from the sale of the bags is depoisted.
Both groups then reap whatever profit they’re able to make.Part of their earnings is used to purchase further bags. This project allows the unemployed women to put food on the table and the schools to cover costs such as printing, taxi fares to training etc.
2020 was a year of challenges the world over and neither the ECD nor the charitable sectors were exempt from the trials it brought. However, despite so many facing financial and logistical challenges, job losses and personal troubles, we continued to see countless selfless and loving hearts, willing to give their time, energy and donations to help our cause. It is indeed during the hardest of times that we see the greatest compassion.
We continued to be involved with three preschool projects; Umzamo Preschool & Creche in Reservoir Hills, House of Hope in Clermont and Zamokhule Creche & Preschool in KwaDabeka.
In 2020 our focus shifted to the following:
- Paying our teachers a modest salary. Whilst our teachers would normally generate their own salary through school
fees, unfortunately they did not quality for UIF and the ECD sector in KZN was not considered for financial aid
- Assisting in providing food to our preschool communities
- Continued investment in teacher training, with two women being sponsored to undertake their National Diploma
in ECD at Caversham Education Institute
- In line with our value in empowering our teachers to become self-sufficient, we gave all three schools compost,
fertilizer, seedlings and seeds to enable them to create vegetable gardens at the preschools
- Through donations from our supporters and MySchool Card proceeds, we assisted in paying school fees for
preschoolers whose families lost all income during lockdown
- We provided PPEs to our three preschools to ensure their safe reopening alongside PPEs for several schools that
relate to CCRC (Communities, Children and Responsible Care)
- We collected and sewed/knitted dozens of masks and beautiful beanies for all our preschool children
- We collected preloved clothing to keep the children warm during winter
Throughout 2020, we were blown away and incredibly grateful for the generosity and assistance from our generous community of supporters.
2019 has seen us registering two more of our educators with Caversham Education Institute. These ladies are already being transformed by the incredible training offered at Caversham. We look forward to an exciting three-year journey with them.
Our partnership with CCRC has allowed us to fund further training in Chesterville where 10 preschool teachers and home-based child carers will receive quality ECD input on a monthly basis from recognized training institutions.
In July 2016, we were approached for assistance by Zethu Mbali, a dedicated preschool teacher in Kwadabeka, asking for classrooms and ablutions. Our commitments to other projects precluded us from helping at that time but this year we’ve taken on their cause and it’s clear that an entire preschool installation is needed! We’ve obtained consent from the Ward Councilor to use an ideal vacant site for the installation. As funds are raised, the children of Zamokuhle Creche and Preschool will encounter a whole new ECD experience. Our estimated target for the basics of this installation is R180 000, equal to selling approximately 1 800 top quality garments!
Additionally, we have been given details of two other preschool installation opportunites that we’d love to action. Both cases involve dedicated teachers currently doing their tertiary training in ECD and who dream of having their own preschools to impact their communities. We’d welcome donors and sponsors who would team with us to make their dream a reality.
Funding ECD Training Workshops for preschool teachers and home-based carers took on new significance in 2018, with those doing the courses receiving recognised accreditation.
These workshops were arranged and overseen by Mari van der Merwe of Communities, Children and Responsible Care (CCRC), an NPO working into Chesterville Township.
Umzamo Child Care Centre - Creche & Preschool
In July 2018, the Durban Chic Mamas installed a third classroom at Umzamo Day Care Centre. The converted container was turned into a vision of joy by renowned street artist, Giffy Duminy. It now houses 16 under- 2s as Umzamo continues to flourish. A very worthwhile project valued at R50 000
House of Hope Community Organisation
This preschool was installed in October 2017 and is gradually becoming established and recognised by the community. A final essential structure was waterless loos. Maureen Dlamini, who heads up the school, achieved PBO and 18a status for House of Hope & this opened doors for the donation of 2 waterless Enviro-loos, and the assistance from SAHome Loans who installed them. A fabulous empowering achievement by Maureen . The total project value was R60 000.
Adult ECD Training
Nomusa Dlungwana who heads up Umzamo, completed her third year of accredited ECD training at Caversham Training Institute in November – all fees for her three year course were funded from Chic Mamas garment sales!! This incredible woman’s graduation takes place in July 2019
Both preschools continue to receive our oversight and assistance where necessary. Very busy little people mean that repairs and maintenance are ongoing to ensure the schools remain safe learning environments.
Both schools received ECD teaching aids and playground equipment.
The Chic Mamas team walked House of Hope through their 18a issuing process and have guided both NPOs with keeping financial records as required by SARS. Additionally it’s been a year of submitting registrations with the Department of Social Development for both preschools.
In January Chic Mamas funded a Waste2Toys Numeracy Workshop for rural teachers & caregivers. This is a new addition to the wonderful input offered by Singakwenza and covers crucial foundational learning.
Project Hope has been the main focus for 2017.
After 2 years of careful assessment, it was decided that we would build a preschool and crèche for the children of House of Hope, which is based in an impoverished part of Clermont, a township bordering Westville and Pinetown. Projects of this nature involve working directly with community leaders to obtain consent and to secure land on which to establish the facility. We have been fortunate to have the support of both the local ward Councillor and the Community Committee members.
The installation began in earnest in July 2017 and funds raised from garment sales covered costs of a 12 meter converted container & security fencing.
Outstanding components such as a water harvesting system, ablutions and a playground needed to be in place before the preschool could begin functioning. Thankfully SA Home Loans came on board and as part of their CSI commitment, provided a jungle gym, sandpits and trees, transforming barren land into a wonderful playground.
A rainwater harvesting system with two Jojo tanks was installed. We are very grateful for gutters by Alugant that made the water harvesting an affordable reality. A generous long-term donation of 2 serviced porta loos was made by Sanitech. These will be in place until permanent ablutions can be installed.
Chic Mamas continues to walk alongside Umzamo Preschool & Crèche. After only 2 years, Umzamo requires further expansion as the community recognises the value of ECD & the quality input these children receive and has requested an increase in pupil intake. An extension to the property was agreed on by the community committee and the additional area has been fenced for a future classroom structure.
The supervisor of Umzamo, Nomusa Dlungwana, has thrived during her second year of ECD teacher training at Caversham Training Institute, funded by Chic Mamas.
It has been an eventful year and we look forward to continued investment into both House of Hope and Umzamo in 2018.
Our 2016 projects fell into 4 distinct areas.
Funding Waste2Toys workshops for teachers and home-based carers is our most effective means of impacting the greatest number of pre-schoolers.
When we are approached by organisations or individuals requesting ECD assistance, our first response is to connect them with phenomenal NPO, Singakwenza, who offer 3hr workshops on gross motor development, fine motor development and numeracy skills. The delegates are given insight into ECD and taught how to convert common waste into toys that develop all 3 areas essential to school readiness. As these are impoverished communities, the impact is huge. Ideally, 35 – 45 delegates are accommodated at each workshop at a cost of R2000 to Chic Mamas.
From Jan - May 2016, workshops were funded in Chesterville, Groutville and Amanzimtoti. Two more took place in August and September.
Upgrading Umzamo Child Care Centre
Umzamo is in a severely impoverished informal settlement and the extension was started in the last quarter of 2015.
In January 2016, enrolment quadrupled and 2 teacher assistants had to be employed. The 25 preschoolers aged 2 – 5yrs are thriving.
In February, a jungle gym was installed at Umzamo, by CityHope , and a donated Wendy House was refreshed by the Durban Mamas. A water harvesting system now supplies Umzamo with water for both consumption and ablutions.
It consists of guttering donated by Alugant, which directs rainwater into 2 Jojo Tanks, and Concrete toilets donated by ROCLA, that have been plumbed to serve the staff and pupils. This has provided a significant alternative to the unhygienic communal ablutions and distant water points supplied for the 2000 residents.
In June 2016, the preschool property was extended and 10 babies aged 3–24mths were moved from their dilapidated wood & iron structure into a new log cabin. With the preschool and its feeder crèche on the same plot, the Umzamo Child Care Centre can function as a unit once more.
The entire Centre has been securely fenced, providing a safe facility for all.
Umzamo remained the focal project until completion, in the third quarter.
A well-equipped preschool is worthless without trained staff. In December 2015, the Durban Mamas elected to fund accredited pre-primary, teacher training for Nomusa Dlungwana, the inspirational woman who heads up Umzamo. Nomusa attended Saturday lectures at Caversham Training Institute and we stand amazed at her passion to make a difference and apply all she learns. Her personal growth, and the transformation in the children is a delight to see and fully justifies the investment. Lihle, Nomusa’s assistant in the pre-school, attends monthly Crèche Forum training.
Jumble Entrepreneurial Project
This project continued to empower unemployed women through the purchase and re-sale of bags of jumble. Proceeds fund ECD needs at Umzamo.
Future Project – House of Hope Crèche and Preschool
Once the Umzamo project is complete, we will turn our attention to a desperate situation in Clermont where 43 children and 3 carers are crammed into a single 12 sq m room. Maureen who runs the crèche has already attended a Waste2Toys workshop and we will be evaluating the most urgent needs and funding required.
2015 PROJECT REPORT
This year has been a miraculous adventure!
We’ve had the privilege of teaming with Save the Children by funding Waste2Toys workshops in Umzinto, Durban and Lamontville. Ten ECD kits were distributed to home based carers committed to training at the Crèche Forum in Chesterville and we were able to fund structural repairs at Inkanyezi crèche.
Our joy and dream come true has been the installation of a *stunning new pre-school for 3 – 5 year olds who attend Umzamo Day Care Centre. Completion will be in early 2016.
Our ongoing Jumble entrepreneurial project is now operating out of Umzamo Day Care Centre and all funds are being used for learning materials for the new pre-school.
Our first 2015 workshop was attended by 61 Crèche Forum leaders from all over KZN. We will be funding training for 380 ECD practitioners at three further workshops booked for the second half of the year.
On 25th July, nine amazing women were presented with their ECD kits. These home-based carers attend ongoing training in their quest to equip the children in their care. They were delighted to each receive a table
and 4 chairs and a storage crate containing play dough kits, beanbags, scissors, paper, crayons, puzzles, chalkboards kits & toy and hand sanitiser.
UMZAMO CRECHE & DAYCARE UPGRADE
The full upgrade of Umzamo Crèche is ready to be rolled out pending confirmation of a converted container to replace the current unsafe wooden structure.
ON-GOING ENTREPRENEURIAL PROJECT
Donated jumble from a variety of sources is processed into bags by one of our CHIC MAMAS and then passed on to CityHope. The bags are then overseen and sold by CityHope for a nominal amount to unemployed women in Chesterville who sell the garments and use the profits to support their families and purchase further bags.
CityHope invests the proceeds from the sale of the bags back into ECD projects and food parcels for destitute, often child-headed homes identified by social workers in Chesterville.
2014 ECD WORSHOPS [Clermont]
In the first half of 2014, we identified the very real need for ECD workshops to equip township & rural Grade R teachers.
With the blessing of the Department of Education we were able to arrange and fund two Waste2Toys workshops presented by ECD specialists, Singakwenza. The DOE regional supervisor invited 103 township and rural educators from 80 schools in her region. Those who attended were encouraged to share the input with their colleagues and thereby potentially impact the lives of hundreds of pupils, as on average, grade R class sizes are between 40 – 50 pupils per teacher.
INKANYEZI CRECHE [Chesterville]
Inkanyezi Crèche is a flagship crèche, positioned in Jamaica, one of the most needy areas of Chesterville and serves as a beacon of light to the local community. One of our 2014 projects was the funding of a new jungle gym and rocking boat for their playground. In addition a donation of giant tennis balls was received with delight. Chic Mamas also, funded the much-needed upgrade of their ablution block.
ZAMOKUHLE CRECHE [Chesterville]
Zamokuhle Crèche is linked to CityHope. Chic Mamas supplied hardware materials to assist CityHope with jungle gym installations and donated plastic scooters to the school.
UMZAMO CRECHE AND DAY CARE [Reservoir Hills]
At the request of Feed the Babies fund, Chic Mamas began relating to Umzamo Crèche and Day Care in Reservoir Hills. This facility was recently rebuilt after burning down and is the only such facility serving the 2000 inhabitants of the informal settlement. Assessment and visits were done in 2014 and the potential for 2015 involvement was established. The children were happy recipients of giant tennis balls.
CHRISTIANENBERG PRIMARY SCHOOL [Clermont]
Our first projects were the installation of a jungle gym for 120 Grade R pupils at the Christianenburg Primary School in Clermont, and the establishment of a double water tank system and vegetable garden to supplement the food needs of an NPO, caring for 178 aids orphans and children in need at the school. Donations of library books, a photocopier and computers were made to the school by Chic Mamas supporters.