YEARS of dedication, love and sacrifice are paying off as Imelda Augustine, owner of Malabar Educare Centre for children, celebrates her centre’s 20th anniversary.
For the past two decades the centre has opened young minds to the wonderful world of education.
Augustine qualified as a teacher and taught until the eldest of her three children, Lisa, was born. While driving the streets of Malabar with her baby, Augustine, she saw the need for a children’s daycare centre.
“Originally I opened a daycare centre in 1976 at the Mother of Perpetual Help Church. But then, in 1992, I was blessed to receive premises around the corner, and Malabar Educare Centre was formed with those same kids I was with at the church.
“Since then the centre has grown drastically. It is now catering for about 75 children from the ages of 18 months to six years and a staff of four teachers, a kitchen help and office help,” said Augustine.
As one can imagine, there are a lot of challenges and sacrifices that must be made to make a business successful and her story is no different, explained Augustine.
“It is my passion for teaching and children that brings me back each day. But sometimes it is hard because of challenges we encounter. Our main problem is finance, we would like to make certain improvements to the centre and do maintenance but we simply do not have the money. I don’t want to push up school fees because I don’t want to burden the parents either,” said Augustine.
However, despite these challenges Augustine intends to stick around for quite a while.
The grandmother of four is not going to consider retiring anytime soon.
“I don’t want to think about retiring. While I still have air in my lungs, I will keep on going. And even if I do move on I know and trust the people I have here and they will ensure that the centre stays open.
“Yes, sacrifices have to be made but I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
“When I see big, hairy men greeting me in the street and acknowledging me [as their one-time educare teacher] it is very satisfying to know that I made a contribution to that success story.”