Happy children in the new, large and bright classroom at Great Beginning.

­ Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams

In fact we only wanted to optimise the outdoor area …but it then turned into a large project with the aim of applying for the registration of the “Great Beginning” Pre-School, in order to receive government funding.

It all began on 16 October 2019 at the annual meeting of our partner organisation, Masikhule. At the end of the event, a confident young woman came on stage and, on behalf of the kindergarten teachers, thanked Masikhule for their great support in a passionate speech. We were very impressed by Naomi Malebo by that time and so we got to know her better.

­ We went to look at her ECD centre which is just next door to our “Sikhuthale” kindergarten in Asanda Village. We discovered a decent, well-adapted kindergarten for 54 children. But there was one major weak point: the children could not play outside as there was no playground.

The Great Beginning Pre-School on our first visit in February 2020. ­

­Thus, in February 2020, we planned a new child-friendly outdoor area with a sandpit, climbing frame, shade roof and artificial lawn.

Just before we turned the first sod of earth, the gas stove and gas bottle were stolen, among other things, during a break-in. As we so often do, we weighed up the priorities and eliminated the bigger problem, purchasing a gas stove and a gas bottle. Without these items, the children cannot have warm meals.

­ To reduce the risk of further break-ins, we built a wall and installed a gate.

And then the lockdown with its curfew put all the work on hold.

During this time, Naomi Malebo (on the left hand side of the photo) distributed sanitisers and soaps in front of her newly-built wall and informed the community about sensible hygiene and behavioural measures.

During the weeks of lockdown and after examining the documents, we decided to support Great Beginning comprehensively so that their requirements for registration can be met. Extensive renovations to the house are necessary to obtain this permit.

­Eg: there was only one toilet, one wash basin and one bath tub for all the children. However, due to the number of children, a minimum of three toilets and two wash basins are required. We enlarged the bathroom to provide enough space for additional toilets and wash basins.

On this occasion, we also sealed the leaking roof, put in new ceilings and installed friendly, bright, energy-saving LED lights.

The bathroom still has to be tiled and the ceiling painted but Naomi and the children are already looking forward to their new toilets and basins.

Before: The sanitary facilities for the kindergarten teachers also left a lot to be desired: the toilet was positioned in the middle of the office without a proper partition.

After: To separate the toilet, we installed a wall and a door. To qualify for registration of the kindergarten, a second emergency exit is required under fire protection regulations, which we built into an outer wall of the office.

For safety reasons, the children are also not allowed to enter the kitchen. Unfortunately up to now, they had to cross the kitchen to reach their classroom. Thanks to a new doorway and the clever merging of two small classrooms, much more space has been created making it possible to cater for more children between the ages of three and six years. And, as you know, more children mean an additional source of income for the four kindergarten teachers, which secures their livelihood.

We planned the necessary renovations with our architect, George Strangman, in collaboration with our partner organisation, Masikhule.

After we were able to start serving meals in October – a major breakthrough – the next step will be to plan a new kitchen and equipment.

Even though the sandpit has already been built, there is still a lot to do. We will keep you informed about the construction progress of this big project in the forthcoming months.

There is more positive news….four of our kindergartens received financial support from the government for the first time this month.

Due to the Corona virus restrictions, there are still only a few children going to kindergarten. This is the reason why the income of most of our kindergartens is so low. Thus, we have again donated part of the salaries for the month of November and we continue to give financial support to the soup kitchens.

We, our children and principals say THANK YOU very much to our sponsors, friends and acquaintances who continue to support us so wonderfully with their donations.

We need and would much appreciate further donations or appeals for donations on Facebook, to support our kindergartens in the townships.

Our donations account is:

Golden Sunbeams e.V.
Standard Bank of South Africa
Account number: 1011 2371 777
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ
BIC 03-30-12

Thank you for every ounce of support. Please stay healthy!

Britta & Bernd