STEP INSIDE THE ‘CLASSROOM’ AT THOKOZANI BUHLEBAKHE CRECHE
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his small, green, corrugated iron shed in the rural Maqongqo district is stifling in summer and freezing in winter. But at least the battered metal walls and roof keep the children dry when it rains. In good weather, they sit on the ground outside for their lessons.

Retired teacher, Winnie, started the creche back in 2007. She understands the need for early development of young children, so they are ready to enter first grade when the time comes.

Now 50 children, ranging in age from three months to five years, attend her humble creche every day. At least eight are from child-headed homes, where there are no adults to provide care, guidance or supervision.

Winnie gives the kids breakfast and lunch. Parents who can afford it contribute a little towards running costs, and the Department of Social Development helps with food and small stipends (about $68/£50/€ 58) for the cook and three teachers. But it’s never enough and sometimes no money at all arrives from the Department.

In the meantime, the single toilet they have … an unhygienic pit latrine … is filling up! Winnie urgently needs to replace it before it starts overflowing. But more than this, she dreams of a second toilet. Because one loo shared among 50 kids is simply not enough!

It’s hard to believe that people far away would care about a humble tin shack ‘school’ in the middle of the African savannah. Or about the poorest of the poor children who depend on it for food, learning, companionship and safety.

Still we count on the kindness of strangers like you to contribute towards the urgent needs of Thokozani Creche … by making a donation online right now.

You’ll earn the heartfelt gratitude of Winnie, Fr Gideon who’s parish priest of Moqongqo, and the children who have learned to manage with so little in the way of comfort and care in their young lives.

You have the power to ease the hardships they face very day – please will you use it now to make a donation to Thokozani Creche? If we are lucky enough to raise more than the cost of installing two new toilets, anything extra will go towards buying small plastic tables and chairs – or even mats – where the children can sit to do their lessons, and badly needed educational toys, crayons, notebooks and other stationery.

In return, your special intentions, shared here, will be included in our monthly Mass for Mission friends.

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