Colours tickle the senses, provide warmth and also jolt ones memory in powerful ways. At the Jean Gardner ‘Maxi’ makeover of Phuthego Day Care in Diepsloot, a field monitor shared that she had heard a young child that morning say, “Mama isikhole sami si’redi manje!” [Mom my school is now red!].
Mam’Salome Pokolo with a big heart yet limited funds established Phuthego Day Care in 2001. The Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre was a humble single structure at the corner of her property, but Mam’Salome dreamed bigger dreams for the children. In 2010 Phuthego Day Care was enrolled in Joint Aid Management South Africa’s (JAM SA) Nutritional Feeding Programme and received JAM porridge which provided the children with much needed daily nutrients.
Mam’Salome’s dream of improving her ECD centre was made real when she heard that she will receive a makeover from a Scottish team. The team was led by Jean Gardner and her enthusiastic team of volunteers who were incredibly passionate and did amazing work at Phuthego Day Care. After months of exciting fundraising, a team of 17 enthusiastic volunteers arrived at the JAM base on the 5thof July 2014 with bucket loads of energy!
Work began on the 7th of July, with lots of paint work needed on the brand new classrooms. The single classroom structure was given a fresh coat of paint and ceiling boards were installed.Beautiful educational murals were also painted inside the now age appropriate classrooms, providing much needed stimulation and excitement for the children.
The volunteers were very happy with their work, brother’s Ross and Richard remarked, “We’ve had an excellent experience and learnt a lot.” Jean Gardner added, “We as a team have learned new skills, plastering and painting murals.”
The ECD centre now boasts three age appropriate classrooms, ablution facilities, a sickroom, an office and a kitchen. The team also managed to plant a vegetable garden! Each of the classrooms are now filled with educational toys to help make learning fun and stimulating.
At the handover celebration Jean Gardner remarked, “I’ve had an amazing time and the mama is so overwhelmed. In the future we would definitely want to do more. Thanks JAM for looking after us.” JAM SA’s MD David Brown addressed all those attending the handover celebration and stated that the Jean Gardner – Peterhead team has made a big difference in the children’s lives. “From the bottom of our hearts JAM thanks the Jean Gardner team. Thanks for your time and efforts.”
Merriam Mokoena a teacher at Phuthego Day Care added that, “I’m happy for Salome, this will definitely help in getting the children ready for formal schooling.” A parent jubilantly remarked, “We as the community are very thankful!”