Members of the Somerset East community and officials gathered at Mini Marvel Day Care Centre, in Somerset East, to celebrate the launch of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) infrastructure programme. This marks the first of three ECD new build and renovation initiatives that Cookhouse Wind Farm is about to embark on as part of their ECD Flagship Initiative.

The ECD Infrastructure Programme’s overall objective is to provide infrastructure for sustainable universal availability of early childhood development, which allows for equitable access to quality and comprehensive early childhood development services, for communities within Somerset East, Cookhouse, Bedford and Adelaide.

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,” explained Elton Gordon, Community Operations Manager for Cookhouse Wind Farm.

The building and renovation is to increase capacity, reduce overcrowding and improve conditions for children. The first beneficiary of this infrastructure programme, Mini Marvels, currently provides care for 60 learners between the ages of zero and six years, in the Somerset East community. Following the completion of improvements to the Centre, additional space will be available for a sickbay, additional toilets that are wheelchair friendly as well as extensions to the kitchen. The improvements address the non-compliance aspects of the Centre, as confirmed by an independent assessment conducted by the Project Preparation Trust.

Mrs Veronica Martins, school principal said, “The teachers and parents are so excited for what is about to happen at Mini Marvels, as they waited such a long time for this intervention. The upgrade of the centre will significantly improve the quality of life especially for the young learners.”

The practitioners at Mini Marvels have completed their NQF Level 2 training, also funded by the wind farm’s ECD Flagship Initiative, which is designed to improve the overall functionality and resources of ECD centres.

Local contractors are being utilised to do the actual improvement works, further demonstrating Cookhouse Wind Farms willingness to support local small enterprises residing in the beneficiary towns.

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