May 2021.

Phakamisani Educare Centre in Adelaide, recently reopened its doors, following an extensive upgrade and expansion that has addressed overcrowding, in addition to other essential changes.

This is the latest centre to benefit from Cookhouse Wind Farm’s ECD Infrastructure Initiative, a flagship programme in the wind farm’s socio-economic development plan.

The scope of work included the upgrade of sanitation infrastructure; classroom partitioning and the building of a new classroom amongst other refurbishments, to render a safer ECD centre that can now accommodate additional young children from the surrounding community.

The Principal, Ms Qaqamba Ndunyana, said that before the upgrades this ECD centre was overcrowded, being only large enough to accommodate 40 children, but was caring for close to 50. She added, “The centre’s management committee is ecstatic about this development, which can now safely care for sixty children.”

Cookhouse Wind Farm’s Community Liaison Officer, Lifa Baskiti explained that this project represents a full circle of representation in terms of benefits as Adelaide centres did not benefit from the first phase of the project.

Baskiti added, “Cookhouse Wind Farm is happy to help centres comply with the guidelines and standards as laid out by government, which will increase governmental grant benefits for the centres”.

Although this infrastructure project has been solely funded by Cookhouse Wind Farm, it is certainly a success because of the collaboration and support of role-players. “Here we can count the Department of Social development, as the legislative custodian of ECDs; the Raymond Mhlaba Municipality, as the owner of the site on which the centre operates; Early Inspiration, the trainers who helped with the assessment report and Environmental Health Practitioners amongst other key stakeholder groups,” added Baskiti.

In addition to the infrastructure programme, which provided employment for fourteen members of the public, the centre has also benefited from a full range of ECD resources, to support teaching and children focused development.
“Our flagship Early Childhood Development Infrastructure Programme’s overall objective is to create suitable facilities and spaces that support the development of young children and allow for equitable access to quality and comprehensive early childhood development services, for communities within Somerset East, Cookhouse, Bedford and Adelaide,” explained Tshepo Kgoloane, Community Operations Manager for Cookhouse Wind Farm.

The partnership between Private Sector and Government is vital to drive development in South Africa, and particularly the Eastern Cape Province, which requires funding that exceeds the current available budget, to respond to ECD infrastructure needs in this rural Province.

“Public Private Partnerships are of vital importance to unlock challenges in order to prepare young children for formal schooling and thereby level the playing fields,” added Kgoloane.

The programme launched in July 2019, to commemorate Madiba Day. This followed a detailed Infrastructure Needs Assessment completed across 28 ECD Centres located in the four beneficiary towns.

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