Nelson Mandela Foundation

Diepkloof village, KwaZulu-Natal: In partnership with the Old Mutual Foundation and FUTURELIFE, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has successfully completed the construction of a new Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre for Mfundwenhle Pre-school. This pre-school is based in Umzimkhulu and has been operating since 2017 in a shack structure. Arising from the conditions in which it operated, the children attending the centre lacked access to a safe and stimulating learning environment, with the ECD centre also being unable to register with the relevant department owing to the conditions in which it operated.

Having initially started with 5 children, the centre now caters for 30 children in its community. The principal of the school said that “the community did not know what ECD is or what early childhood development does – but now they have understanding” through the construction of the school.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation’s work in Early Childhood Development (ECD) started in 2018 arising from clear evidence that it was important to focus on this area in order to overcome intergenerational poverty and to achieve a more just society.

The Foundation has embarked on this infrastructure intervention initiative as part of its work on the Vangasali campaign. The Vangasali campaign is a registration massification programme which is a partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The majority of ECD centres in South Africa are unregistered and as a consequence are unable to access governments per child per day subsidy. While Phase 2 of the Vangasali campaign is underway, which is aimed at standardising the process for ECD registration across the country, the construction of this centre is part of Phase 3 of the campaign. Phase 3 of the campaign is aimed at directing resources to ECD centres who in the absence of intervention will not be able to register with the respective provincial education departments.

In addition to the provision of a new centre, a food garden was also launched and completed at the centre.

"The inclusion of a food garden to the ECD centre offers great potential, such as supporting the children attending the school, the centre and community. In this way, the food gardens contribute to the dismantling of intergenerational cycles of poverty and inequity." Said Verne Harris, Acting Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. ""We owe a duty to our country's children, and we all must do our utmost for them," he emphasized."

The Foundation would also like to sincerely thank Impande SA for their efforts in executing the construction of the ECD centre and assisting the Foundation in completing the food garden.

Mfundwenhle Before

Mfundwenhle Pre-school - before construction commenced

Mfundwenhle After

Mfundwenhle Pre-school - after construction completed