The Jujurha Early Learning Centre (ELC) is the latest addition to the Bulungula Incubator portfolio of projects. The ELC will address education and health issues amongst children in the village, with a focus on children under 10 years.
Our aim is to establish a centre of education excellence in this remote rural village, and to encourage parents to become more actively involved in the education of their children.
Over the course of the next 12 months, we will focus on building the infrastructure for the Early Learning Centre, and on delivering the following programs from the Centre:
- A pre-school for ~45 children between 3 and 6 years of age, to create a solid foundation for learning.
- A toy and book library for use by the pre-schoolers and other children and adults in the village
- A mentorship and support programme for the local primary schools – to ensure a continuation of education excellence when the children graduate from the pre-school
- An after-school tutoring programme for Foundation phase learners from the local primary school
If you’d like more information on any of these activities, we can forward you a copy of the full project proposal.
We are very excited by the response we have received so far to the Early Learning Centre. In a short space of time, we have managed to raise funds to cover two salaries for 2009, to build and equip the first classroom, and to build a jungle gym. We also have a donation towards the building of teachers’ accommodation in the village. And of course many people have donated toys, books and clothing which are much needed and greatly appreciated! Many thanks to all those who have contributed so far!
Special thanks to:
The Solon Foundation
The Ford Alumni Association
The JDI (Just Do It) Group
Andrew, Zena and William Glenday
We have also had visits from several other potential funders and we’re hopeful that we’ll get the funds necessary to complete the building of the ELC by mid 2009!
The community has enthusiastically embraced the idea of the ELC. They have appointed 4 people to represent the community on the ELC project committee (to oversee the project). The community has also donated a beautiful piece of land for the building (see below). Jane Visser architects have kindly donated their time to assist in the design of an appropriate concept for the structure, which will be built using local labour and local materials (i.e. mud bricks and thatch).
While the building is taking place, we will be renting a hut in the village to get started with the pre-school. The ELC committee identified a suitable hut, with sufficient light to run activities indoors and with good outside space for outdoor activities.
We will be starting the pre-school on Monday 16th February with an initial intake of about 12 children aged 4-5 years. The plan is to grow slowly, and to learn constantly by reflecting on what we do.
The nearest other pre-school of this kind is in Mdumbi, about 3 hours drive from here, past Coffee Bay. We arranged a visit last week, to show community members what a pre-school looks like, to observe the kinds of activities that are run with the children, and to ask questions and learn from the teachers at this remarkable little school. The visit was a huge success. Six community members accompanied Dave and Sonja. These included 3 of the 4 ELC committee members, our assistant teacher and two of the traditional leaders from the area.
The group observed the pre-school (and children) in action, and then had the opportunity to discuss our questions and plans with the teachers at the school. All-in-all, an extremely helpful and motivating excursion.
Nursing a sore body after 6-hours in the back of a bumpy bakkie, I was once again humbled by a community member (Nosandile) who told me how she used to walk this route to visit her mother – a mammoth trip that took her 3 days each way!!
Watch this space – more to follow as we start up our little pre-school ….