The torrential floods that wreaked havoc in Kwa-Zulu Natal couldn’t have come at a worse time for the children of the Embo community in Hillcrest, whose nursery school was devastated by the rains that engulfed the province recently.
Before the floods, the facility was already derelict and dilapidated due to shortage of funds to undertake regular maintenance. School Principal Ms Buyisiwe Ngongoma explains that the roof was caving in, the cupboards in the kitchen were mouldering, the only personal computer and printer were malfunctioning, the security doors were rickety, the playground was rundown, and the general appearance of the facility was falling apart.
The floods worsened the condition of the facility and rendered it inhospitable.
Global beauty company, Avon Justine, stepped in to alleviate the plight of the facility by pledging a donation of R150 000 towards repairing the creche. The donation is part of Avon Justine’s Thuthukisa Together programme. Through the Thuthukisa programme, which is an isiZulu word that translates to building together, Justine has raised over R3 million to help develop, support and build up impoverished communities.
“This donation will be a lifesaver for the creche and for the children who depend on this facility for learning and for interaction. The floods have worsened an already desperate situation that was created by theft and vandalism. The student population has grown remarkably over the past few months and the damage resulting from the rains has been very distressing and demoralising to the children. The donation has come at an opportune time and it will go a long way towards renovating the creche and making it as child-friendly as possible,” said Ngongoma.
In addition to repairing structural damage to the creche, Ngongoma said the money will also help to purchase extra mattrasses and blankets for the facility to make up for additional enrolment of more children and will also help to spruce up the playground which is lying fallow.
“Early childhood development is cited as a crucial stage in children’s development. It is therefore that children should be afforded a conducive environment where they can learn and play during this important formative stage. Our ongoing support for this facility stems from our appreciation of the importance of early childhood development and harnessing our footprint and the power of our brand to make a positive difference to the community of Embo and the children of this area who depend on this facility. For monitoring reasons, this donation is just a small gesture to be paid in 2 tranches to a total of R300 000 that will help the creche to get back on its feet and continue to serve the noble mandate of being a haven for children of this community,” said Mafahle Mareletse, Managing Director, Avon Justine Turkey, Middle East & Africa.
Avon Justine has a long-standing partnership with the creche and has supported it with funding over the years.