Car dealers’ gift builds classroom for crèche

2011-07-13 00:00

TODDLERS at Sbukosezwe Crèche in Sweetwaters can look forward to a brand-new classroom adorned with pretty curtains and boasting flushing toilets when schools reopen for the new term on Monday.

This is thanks to a generous donation — amounting to R297 000 — made available by General Motors and its franchiser, Key Pietermaritzburg. The donation is from the coffers of the General Motors Childlife Foundation, said its chairperson, Colin Cowie.

The foundation was started a year ago to target needy children. It is funded by General Motors and its 140 car dealerships around the country.

“The projects are dealer-driven. General Motors dealers around the country identify projects in their areas and then apply to the foundation,” said Cowie.

“This particular project was driven by Key Pietermaritzburg.”

This means that for each of the 55 000 cars General Motorssells each year R20 goes to the foundation from both the company and the dealer.

Jumping castles, jungle gyms, sand castles and swings were the order of the day, but the most important guests at the event seemed to find the christening of their new classroom more enjoyable.

The opening was attended by the Key Motor Group managing director and Malcolm Gauld, vice-president, sales and marketing, of General Motors SA.

Jonathan Ngcoya, a local induna, stood in for inkosi Zondi, who had been called to a meeting with the KZN premier.

Dale Southern, chairperson of the Key Foundation, the charitable arm of Key dealierships, described the project as both a dream and a prayer.

The crèche is supported by a non-profit organisation, iThemba Project, which works with educational projects in early childhood development phases in and around Sweetwaters.

Stu Walker and his wife Sam, who are both qualified teachers, are among the founding members of iThemba Project.

Said Walker, “A census done in 2001 found that of the 5 000 children attending crèches in this area only 1 000 attend those that are registered.

“Our aim is really to assist in education from the bottom up through developing teachers and offering them curriculum support and resources that get donated to us.”

Crèche owner Greta Zondi said the 92 children, aged between 18 months and four years, were previously crammed into one classroom.

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