After the end of apartheid, with the establishment of a new, democratic government, all kindergartens in the Helderberg region were either closed or no longer received financial support. The resulting consequences were devastating for the families in the townships: without childcare parents could not look for jobs; no work meant no wages; no wages meant there was no possibility to adequately take care of one’s family – a vicious cycle.
After long and complex negotiations with government departments and churches, we finally built our first kindergarten in 1998 with the aid of private donations. This facility was originally planned for 100 children and could be used to serve as a possible role model for other kindergartens in the area. Meanwhile, both the kindergarten’s construction and organisation have been significantly improved. In March 2018, the kindergarten celebrated its 20th anniversary. Based on a successful education, many of the children from its inception, today work in professions and have secure incomes.
“Helderberg Golden Sunbeam” was the first kindergarten that Bernd Hotlkamp built and supported – a prime example of sustainability and successful work in townships. It has laid the foundation for our current activities. That is why our newly founded association “Golden Sunbeams e.V.” is named after this first kindergarten of ours.
These projects are divided into the following actions:
1. Construction and rebuilding of kindergartens
2. Care, maintenance and furnishing of kindergartens
3. Building of playgrounds and green areas
4. Planting of vegetable gardens for healthy, own supply
5. Supporting events and organising trips
6. Acquisition and distribution of food donations
In October 2019 we got to know the young principal Naomi Malebo and her very decent, well-adapted Pre-School. The major weak point: The children could not play outside because there was no playground. Thus in February 2020 we planned a new child-friendly outdoor area with a sandpit, jungle gym, shade roof and artificial lawn.
Just before we turned the first sod of earth, the gas stove and gas bottle were stolen, among other things, were stolen during a break-in. As we so often do, we weighed up the priorities and eliminated the bigger problem purchasing a gas stove and a gas bottle. Without these items, the children cannot have a warm meal.
To reduce the risk of further break-ins, we built a wall and installed a gate.
And then the lockdown with its curfew put all the work on hold. During the weeks of lockdown and after examining all the documents, we decided to support Great Beginning comprehensively so that the requirements for the registration can be met.
Extensive renovation to work in the house is necessary for this permit:
Increase in the number of toilets and wash basins for children and kindergarten teachers, construction of additional emergency exits, creation of the conditions for compliance with fire protection regulations, securing of walkways for the children.
.On the occasion we also sealed the leaky roof, put in new ceilings and installed friendly, bright and energy-saving LED lights.
By clever merging of two small classrooms, significantly more space has been created, making it possible to cater for more children between the ages of three and six years.
After we made the breakthrough in serving food, the next step will be to plan a new kitchen situation and equipment.
Even though the sandpit has already been built, there is still a lot to do. The jungle gym, shade roof and artificial lawn still have to be installed.
Involvement since 2020
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