Badisa Day Care in Lion Park, Johannesburg has been destroyed after a fire broke out in the shack building two weeks ago. Tragically, owner, Julia Mabatho Molefe’s three-month-old grandchild perished in the fire.
Babdsa Day Care is one of the child care centres in JAM SA’s Nutritional Feeding programme. For a number of years, JAM SA has been providing these children with a wholesome, nutritious meal each day but without a safe and functioning facility, their growth and development is in jeopardy.
“We pulled up next to the crèche and it was horrible to see the black burnt building that the children would return to,” says Karoline Haugsrud-Foss, a JAM SA volunteer from Norway.
“They have lost everything. There were three classrooms for the 52 children. They now have no furniture and nowhere to live,” says Bernadette van Rensburg, makeover supervisor at JAM SA. Ironically, Mama Julia’s fire and safety certificate was also burnt in the fire.
The community rallied together in the aftermath of the fire, reconstructing the classrooms using the burnt corrugated iron and donating clothes. Mama Julia organised for all the children to temporarily attend neighbouring centres but still the children returned to school at Badisa Day Care. “Last Monday, the children returned and they had only a carpet with ashes all around to sit on,” says Haugsrud-Foss. She adds that despite the heartache that Mama Julia must have been feeling, she was still trying to make the most of what little had been salvaged from the fire.
For the safety of the children, it is of utmost importance to erect a solid and safe classroom structure. Mama Julia would also appreciate any other help – donated toys, bedding and kitchen equipment. “It’s in such a bad state that anything will help,” concludes Haugsrud-Foss.