Unfortunately, this is still the typical lighting in many township kindergartens: a single light bulb illuminates the classrooms.

Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams,

We are sure you’re looking forward to summer in Europe! With sunrises between 5 and 6 a.m., sunsets in the evening not before 9 p.m. and lots of sun, light and warmth.

For us, however, June is the first winter month and the time when it only gets light at 7:30 a.m. and already pitch dark again at 5:30 p.m. Our children in South Africa often arrive at their kindergartens very early – between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. And outside it is still dark and the classrooms are often lit only by insufficient dim and murky light.

For example in our Sunshine Kiddies Day Care kindergartens in Sir Lowry’s Pass township and in the Playway Pre-Primary School in Helderzicht. In both kindergartens outdoor lighting was faulty. The classrooms inside the facilities were also only lit very basically sometimes by a single lightbulb.

Quite apart from the quality of the lighting installation: We have often “shuddered” about exposed cables and outdated light switches and sockets – and this is a considerable safety risk for the children and kindergarten teachers. So we decided to eliminate this problem in both kindergartens and installed new electrics in each case.

The advantages are evident:

  • Children need sufficient light for their growth and development, for good vision when reading, arithmetic and games as well as for their health and a strong immune system.
  • Children need security in the dark, especially in the morning when they arrive at their kindergarten early in the morning and start the day.
  • Children need protection from the risk of fire and injury caused by incorrectly connected and inadequately insulated electrical systems.

We have installed modern LED outdoor lights with motion detectors and energy-saving indoor lights in both kindergartens. In addition, new sockets and functional light switches were installed. We laid many metres of new electrical cables and renewed the electrical distribution boxes with their fuses. In addition, the high-voltage connections were replaced because they were previously connected incorrectly – an extremely high source of danger for all people in kindergartens.

­ A great team: Andrew Bani with his competent and always good-natured electrician. ­

While we were writing our newsletter for you, the principal Rosslyn Arendse from Playway reported that the kindergarten had been broken into on the night of May 27th to 28th. We drove straight to Helderzicht to get an idea of ​​the extent of the burglary. The sad result: 4 outdoor lamps including day and night sensors were stolen and as a result the indoor lighting no longer worked. Furthermore, an outside grille door was stolen.

Is that not crazy? We tell you about a project that is all about light – and at the same time there are these dark days that overshadow the joy of it! In order to avoid future burglaries, we have now discussed further precautionary measures with the local council, our partner organisation Masikhule, whose library is on the same site, and the principal. We have also accommodated a former security man with his two dogs in an empty building on the kindergarten site: inhabited places are more likely to deter burglars than uninhabited buildings.

The principal Janette Brinkhuis from Sunshine Kiddies Day-Care in Sir Lowry’s Pass is happy about her now brightly lit rooms. ­

­Back to our actual report again: The Merck company from Darmstadt had already donated Sunshine Kiddies to our kindergarten a long time ago. Shortly before we wanted to use this funding to replace the electrical system, it turned out that the kindergarten was being built on a state sewer pipe. The sword of Damocles hovered over Sunshine Kiddies Day-Care and we had to assume that the kindergarten could be torn down at any time. In view of this uncertainty, we put the donation aside for the time being. While the structural situation was being checked, Covid-19 came up and the process was delayed again. Now that we have final certainty that the kindergarten can stay on its site, we are able to invest the donation that was set aside for the new electrical system.

We would like to thank the Merck company very much for the generous donation and again apologise for the delay in implementation. Since the sustainable use of donations is one of the principles of our association, we only invested when the kindergarten was secure.

We were able to finance the costs of the construction work at Playway thanks to the many donations and grants from our loyal donors, whom we would also like to thank very much.

We hope that summer will begin properly in Europe for you to enjoy. After a wet, cold month of May, we are pleased that June has brought us sunny and summery temperatures again.

Greetings from the Cape of Good Hope!

Britta & Bernd