Yebo yay! Extreme school makeover season is upon us again! We love watching how, in four days, a miraculous transformation takes place at an Early Childhood Development centre that was once a shack on a dusty square – like Dinoko in Zandspruit that was transformed last week.
From the dustbowl arises a sturdy, brightly painted pre-school with a freshly planted garden and excited children exploring their improved classrooms, playground and toys. Chances are that come Monday, there will be no more tears before school and they will be happy to go off each morning.
In fact, the extreme makeover is not as magical as it seems since there is a lot of planning and work to be done before the time to ensure that the project can be handed over at the end of makeover week.
It all starts with a request from a South African Corporate donor or from one of our affiliate offices abroad. In the case of our affiliate offices, the extreme makeover is usually undertaken by a group of volunteers who raise the funds and give of their time to come to South Africa and work on the final stages of improving their adopted centre. These groups also commit to feeding the children at the school for a year.
Our Field Monitors scout their area for an ECD deserving of a transformation and alert Bernadette van Rensburg, our makeover supervisor. In turn, Bernadette will visit each prospective property and assess whether it is indeed eligible and conducts a detailed assessment of the ECD centre and its needs.
She then has to detail the recommendations of what needs to be done and craft a scope of work and budget. The list is extensive and includes items such as facecloths, basins, seedlings, trees, shade-net, educational toys, books, Astro-Turf, scooters, gas stoves, mattresses, palisade fencing, safety and security equipment and sometimes even inflatable swimming pools!
Over the years and through trial and error, Bernadette and her team have found a number of trustworthy suppliers with whom she works. She also goes out to purchase everything that is needed in order to ensure everything runs smoothly.