After being burned to the ground three years ago, the Nkqubela creche in KwaNomzamo township has been completely reconstructed to become a leading centre for early childhood development in the Kouga region.
Rebuilt at a cost of R2.2-million by Kouga Wind Farm, which is located 15km away, the creche is set to provide essential pre-school education to more than 100 disadvantaged children between one and five years old.
Speaking at the official reopening yesterday, school principal Nomalungelo Margaret Mtsele said her mission was to provide a safe, happy environment in which each child could reach their full potential.
Mtsele said words could not express her gratitude to the wind farm for its “hard and beautiful work”.
“Our motto says, ‘when the sun rises, there is light’. Today, I feel the sun has arrived,” she said.
“This building is every practitioner’s dream and a palace for kids. It’s for us, the people of KwaNomzamo.
“Its safety and future depends on us. We must build this place together.”
After the fire, Mtsele opened her own home to her pupils, running a makeshift centre from a wendy house and garage.
The cramped quarters provided less than ideal learning conditions and the play area was on the street.
After obtaining the necessary municipal approvals, Kouga Wind Farm brought in local contractors to handle the site clearance and building work, which created 42 temporary jobs over the course of the six-month project.
The newly renovated Nkqubela, which means “progress” in Xhosa, now boasts three fully equipped classrooms, a kitchen and scullery, bathroom facilities, a store room and offices for the staff.
The playground area, enclosed by a security wall, was also redeveloped to include a bicycle track, jungle gym and swings.
Mtsele received municipal approval to operate the new creche facility at the end of October.
Yesterday’s launch was a proud moment for her as it also doubled as the Grade R graduation ceremony, during which 26 little ones received diplomas proving their readiness for “big school”.
Kouga Wind Farm chief executive Lukhanyo Ndube said the revamped facility was an indicator of the company’s community commitment.
“Kouga Wind Farm intends to create a legacy of self-sustaining communities. We are not here to impose ourselves on the community, but rather to collaborate and engage with the people and the municipality, to create partnerships that meet their goals.”
Ndube said investing in early childhood development was crucial if the wind farm was to make an impact in terms of improving education and skills development in the region.
Kouga Municipality has committed itself to the maintenance and upkeep of the building.
Local businesses have also rallied behind the project, with the wind farm’s turbine supplier, Nordex, donating R50 000 worth of equipment.