While I was in Cape Town, South Africa I spent a month hanging out with an organization called CHOSA (Children of South Africa). One of my projects with them was this photo story which they’ve been able to use for their fundraising.
The Children’s Committee was started by community members who saw a pressing need for low-cost, quality childcare. Since its founding, the residents of QQ Section, have continued to devote their time and energy to create a better life for their community’s youngest members. CHOSA supports the committee with ongoing grants and capacity-building services. Learn more about CHOSA’s work here. The following photos tell the story of the Educare program and the children, families, and caregivers with whom CHOSA is proud to work.
Children in South Africa spend long days at the Educare. They arrive between five and six in the morning and the last children are picked up between five and six in the evening. These four are the last children from Grade R (Kindergarten) waiting to go home on a recent Friday afternoon.
Just like other children around the world, the kids at QQ Community Educare are always delighted to see their parents at the end of the day.
Nokakuthwani is the mother of Kaiser who just began attending the educare in January 2014. She loves the educare because she can tell how sincerely dedicated and loving the teachers are.
Visiting the Fihlani family confirmed the community-oriented mindset that much of QQ Section shack settlement is known for. The father in this family stopped working on his neighbor’s house for only a few minutes to pose for this photo before he went back to work. Four year-old Ivile also had to be tracked down as she was busy playing with the neighbors’ children. This family exhibited a contentment that would surprise many.
Jobs are scarce for many people living in the township. “Mama kaMbali”, mother of Mbali, has been in and out of different jobs for most of her life. QQ Section Community Educare’s low monthly tuition takes some of the stress away from of her joblessness. Monthly, most educares cost between R250 (~25USD) and R500 (~$50USD), QQ Section’s tuition is only R90 (~$9USD) for children aged 3-6 and R120 (~$120USD) for children aged 0-2.
Nomalizo has worked at QQ Section Community Educare since 2012 and she also serves as an elected committee member for the community. She says that her love for the kids makes the hard work completely worth it.
One of the ways that QQ Section Community Educare is different from other educares is that all children receive cooked breakfasts and lunches. Most educares require parents to either pack a lunch for their kids or to pay extra for meals. Providing the children with the same meals means that they are all equally equipped to learn and play during the day.
Nomalizo’s son Yama was in the first class to graduate from QQ Section Community Educare in 2009. He is now in the 5th grade.
Here, Nokwandisa is standing in the doorway to the pre-school where the 60 students arrive and leave the educare everyday. She has four children of her own and this is her first job ever at the age of 42.
Andile serves on the Children’s Committee as a talented manager of finances. He is studying accounting at a nearby college. Even though he does not have any children at the educare, Andile plans to stay involved with the QQ Section community for a long time.
Andile and Nokwandisa review the educare’s finances as they prepare for a committee meeting. The children’s committee meets together every Wednesday to make decisions as a group.
All QQ Section parents are invited to a meeting each quarter to review finances and elect new committee members. Salaries, tuition and food costs are just some components of the budget. Four new committee members were elected at this meeting for the positions of Organizer, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and Vice-Secretary.