Never Doubt a Small Group of Dedicated Women…
Providing good quality education (much less early childhood development) is a challenge in Rieebeck East, a small farm village with a population of about 700 people. But at Ibhabhathane Community Centre, a small group of dedicated women are making a difference.
During my visit, I stayed with Yolande, the project leader, and her husband, Marc (a talented visual artist and photographer) in their charming Bohemian style mud house, located just outside the township.
My two days in Rieebeck East, spending time with the project staff and children, were nothing short of inspirational. I even got to participate in fun kiddie activities such as singing, storytelling, and playing outside.
Yolande has done an amazing job working with the local community; a few local women volunteer to teach and play with the children every day in their native language, Xhosa. And, over time, they've remodeled the broken down shack they took over into a warmer, more colorful space. The roof needs to be fixed, and the floor needs to be re-tiled, so fundraising is top priority for them as they hope to grow and implement higher quality programming (in a more conducive environment) for their children.
A few of their goals include building a comprehensive library of children’s books, acquiring funding for more teachers, and a bigger space so they can take in more children, who, without the centre, would remain idle in the village, as the unemployment (and alcoholism) rate is very high.
I made a short video for them because I was moved by how much they’ve accomplished with so little, and also, how kind everyone was to me, a total stranger, just passing through. I’ve visited about 20 NGOs since I arrived in South Africa in July, and this is the one with the idea — and the people — that have touched me the most.
So, here’s the short video I made — a snapshot of “A Day at the Ibhabhathane Community Centre”. I hope you enjoy it, and consider supporting them as well.