Our new principal came to us after months and months of interviews. We just could not find the right person for PCC. Sweleni was at that stage interested in the opportunity but did not have her drivers’ permit. She was also understandably very nervous to come and run a school.
Sweleni was born and bred in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. She moved to Cape Town in 1999 where she heard about the Montessori teachers training course. She enrolled and completed the course in two years while working as a fulltime Au Pair. She then started working at Childrens Workshop in Claremont where she was an assistant in the 0-3 year class. Slowly, she moved up from Assistant Teacher to Directress at Nutwood in Green Point. Going through all of the classes and the stages gave her great insight into being able to lead a school with 200 children and 17 staff members. She got her drivers’ permit and started at PCC in May 2014. She is a true leader who has turned Philippi Children’s Center into a place of learning and not just a place of care!
The transport has always been a huge problem at Philippi Children's Centre. We have had numerous new and used buses over the past 21 years. Finally we were stuck with an old TATA bus that gave us all a run for our money. It broke down at least once a week and was more in the workshop than on the road. It was just not safe for our children to be transported in it.
Jana came to us as a volunteer from Germany. She instantly fell in love with PCC and the children. She wanted to do something that would help us and make a huge difference in our daily lives. Before she even left to go home she started canvassing in Germany for a new bus. She got all her family and friends involved and before we knew it, there was this amazing amount of money towards a bus fund. Jane Bodin, our fundraiser, took up the challenge and worked endlessly in fundraising for a new bus. We were blessed without measure with donors sending money from all over the world. By the beginning of May, PCC received the new Isuzu 32 seater bus! We are over the moon with happiness and relief. The pure joy of not getting emergency calls about a broken down bus is unanimous at PCC!
Philippi Children's Centre has had it’s fair share of hard times over the last few years. It has been quite the roller coaster ride to say the least. But having said that, we have never given up!! It has been such hard work and we have made many mistakes along the way. We can at this stage say that we have made a change! All at Philippi Children's Centre have put the past behind us and we are looking forward and moving forward. There is a change of atmosphere at the school. Staff are happy and are learning. There are three staff members qualifying as level 5 Montessori teachers this year. The learning has moved by leaps and bounds with weekly themes and children being taken on outings to help them learn. The numbers of children attending has improved. The school is looking so good with all the new classrooms. The property is looked after and of course our new bus is running like a dream. Sweleni has been the change and has brought an air of peace into the school. There is a unity amongst the staff and management that was not there just a few months ago. She is truly a gift from God for PCC! The work to improve will never stop and we will carry on no matter what so that the children can get the best possible teaching that they so rightly deserve!
Phase one of the Philippi Children's Centre is officially complete!
The successful completion of this phase highlights the power inherent in effective collaboration between multiple stakeholders and the commitment of these stakeholders for the children of Philippi. To date, more than $300,000 in donations and donations in-kind have been invested in the buildings and renovation and we are thrilled to have done our part.
The components of Phase one were:
Your donations helped to fund the construction of a classroom and scholarships for the students.
Project Manager Kissmea Adams said, "our hope is that the Philippi Children’s Centre will develop into an example of existing best practices in Early Childhood Development and serve as a resource for other schools in the area. We are so grateful to our donors for their support. With the completion of the building facilities, the PCC managment committee is currently improving staff training and managing the school more effectively. A qualified Montessori directress has been employed as Principal and the school is operating on an outstanding level."
Phase two would include the constrution of a community hall. Love to Langa's Board of Directors will decide at their next meeting whether to continue fundraising for PCC or to move to another project.
Our other current projects include Teacher Training workshops, field trips and enrichment activities.
We are very honored that Marius Fransman, South African Deputy Minister for International Relations and Co-operation, has made a short video for us! In it, he speaks about Nelson Mandela, endorses Love to Langa and encourages viewing of the new film "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom," based on Mandela's autobiography. We are excited to be hosting our first fundraiser in Philadelphia, which is an advanced screening of the film, before it opens to the public on December 25.
Here is a link to Mr. Fransman's video: VIDEO
For information about the film screening, please visit our Facebook event page: Advanced Screening for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
We wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season!
Thanks to you, our generous and wonderful GlobalGiving donors, we are able to send several children to school who would not otherwise have the opportunity. We wanted to give you an update and let you know how a couple of them, Charylene and Tyran, are doing.
Charylene is a happy, well adjusted little girl who is thriving in her class. She is reaching her developmental milestones and socializes well with her peers. She will be three years old on January 31.
She has two best friends (Chloe and Tamaryn) with whom she does everything. Her brother is also a pupil at the school. They both arrive clean and with snacks daily. Her parents are actively involved with their child’s progress and the school.
Unfortunately, the news is not as good about Tyran. He just turned three on September 27 and you can see that he is very small for his age. He is a sweet boy who prefers to play on his own rather than with his peers. He prefers non structured activities due to his inability to concentrate. He gets distracted easily and is not able to revert back to his activities. He is not an affectionate child and would prefer to suffer in silence than voice anything.
Tyran is not adventurous with outside equipment, which is one of the reasons his gross motor skills are lacking. For his age, he has not reached any developmental milestones. He comes to school ravenous as meals are rare at home and this poor nutrition has impacted his physical structure.
His parents have been officially invited to a meeting from the Principal, but up until now have not responded. The Principal will be making a home visit in order to discuss Tyran’s well being and will continue to monitor his development in the classroom.
It is so critical that children like Tyran and Charylene have the chance to be in a nurturing school environment where they can be fed, loved and exposed to stimulating experiences. We are so grateful that your support allows us to provide this opportunity.
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