[CAPTION] Structurally unsound and unfit for providing education [left], the Nolufefe Educare Centre needed to be shut down. However, thanks to the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Injongo Project, made possible by the generous support from the Lewis Group, the school has been transformed [right] into a safe and secure place for pre-school learners as they start the 2017 school-year with zest. [Photo credit: David Grant]

In October 2016, the Nolufefe Educare Centre in Philippi was declared structurally unsafe. The 89 children had to be moved temporarily to another premises, as the centre did not meet the government’s minimum health and safety requirements.

“If it had not been for the Injongo Project, the school would have been permanently closed,” says Pumeza Mahobe, project manager for Injongo Project. “Now they have a new school and the teachers are so happy to be teaching here,” she continues with a smile.

“The first 1000 days of a child’s life is incredibly important in their development,” says Ian Robertson, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont. “We are thrilled that this overhaul means that 110 learners in the Philippi area are already enrolled to receive proper pre-school education at Nolufefe as the new school year starts. Due to the skilled professionals that form part of the Rotary and the Injongo Project, we were able to refurbish the school in less than four months,” adds Robertson.

It is not just about structural restoration. A key priority for the Injongo Project is to ensure that the teachers receive proper skills-training as part of a holistic approach to improving early childhood development (ECD). “We are very grateful for the joint-funding alliance with the Lewis Group. The Injongo Project has invested more than R 1.4 million into Nolufefe to make sure that the children are educated in a safe environment,” says Robertson.

 “This school has been beautifully transformed, like a caterpillar into a butterfly,” says Johan Enslin, CEO of Lewis Group. “We are so proud to have been part of this great project and contributing positively to the local community’s educational needs. We thank our partner, the Rotary Club of Claremont, for their dedication and commitment to the success of this project.”

The educare centre is the 13th one to be physically upgraded and the 48th one to benefit from the Injongo Project, bringing the total amount invested to R 13.5 million: it is the biggest project of its kind in South Africa.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit http://claremontrotary.co.za/.

For more information on Lewis Group, please visit http://www.lewisgroup.co.za/.