Project Joy needs your help

“MY dream is to see our pre-school in a suitable building with a proper structure and with facilities to develop a child holistically,” explained Bonisiwe Gwala, principal and owner of Entokozweni Pre-School.

Entokozweni means “Abundant Joy” in isiZulu, however the pre-school’s current situation doesn’t lend much joy to concerned teachers and community members.

The school, located just five minutes from the iThemba Campus in Hillcrest, is in an existing church building which is cramped, dark and has poor ventilation. The teachers are required to pack up the school every Friday and set up again on Monday so the church can function over the weekends.

Partnering with Bidvest SACD, Container World, Kerry Ingredients, Belgotex and Cotswold Downs Estate, the team at Focus on iThemba are currently aiming to reach their fundraising goal to improve the facilities at the pre-school.

The final push is to fundraise a further R200 000 to install recycled shipping container classrooms, as per the successful “Project Bright” model which Focus on iThemba project-managed in 2017.

“Our Upper Highway community is the glue and heart of the Project Joy story,” explained Tayla-Anne Goss, Donor Relations Manager at Focus on iThemba.

“Investing in Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the foundation for economic prosperity. We have seen the overwhelming positive effects of boosted ECD in the eight pre-schools we partner with.

“Through this very necessary pre-school structural upgrade, we will be able to make a significant change to nearly 50 children’s lives and for many more children going forward.”

“The architect-designed improvements utilise five insulated shipping containers, three for classrooms, one for a kitchen and one for an office.

“For the first time, the children will benefit from flushing toilets, a functional kitchen, an AstroTurf play area, sand pit and a much-needed jungle gym,” said Goss.

Focus on iThemba’s partnership with GROW with Educare Centres will ensure a quality curriculum will be followed, utilising their age-appropriate educational kits.

Other beneficial partnerships facilitated by iThemba include JAM South Africa, which ensures the children receive a nutritious breakfast daily, and NELRU for accredited teacher training.

“These little ones will soon take their first excited steps inside a bright new pre-school where their learning path will be boosted.

“This school will become a place where children can blossom and where their teachers can be proud to call it their place of work.

“Our main costs to now fundraise for are the roof, plumbing and electrical work.”

Anyone who wishes to donate towards Project Joy can e-mail to tayla@focusonithemba.org