TWENTY five years ago, responding to requests from communities in uMzinyathi, in 1993, a handful of good men and women threw their energies into doing everything they could to address the twin “evils” of hopelessness and helplessness in the lives of young children and families living in the uMzinyathi District (identified in the 2011 SA Index of Multiple Deprivation as the most deprived municipal district in South Africa). Thursday April 19 was a day of joyful celebration for the founders and staff of LETCEE, the Greytown based non-profit organisation that has uplifted and empowered people of the uMzinyathi District for 25 years. To mark this milestone occasion, a large and enthusiastic group of community members, funders and supporters joined with the staff to pay tribute to the achievements and development of the organisation over the past two and a half decades. After gathering at the Dalton Club for morning coffee and a snack, guests were transported by bus, and then by taxi, to the extensive but remote Njengabantu community. The 90 attendees were split into groups and enjoyed the experience of travelling by taxi to visit a number of LETCEE trained facilitators at work. From the mobile Toy Library set up at a rural church rondavel, to the “Smart Start” Early Childhood Development activities in progress in a humble homestead, the beaming faces and confident responses of the children spoke volumes of the positive effect LETCEE has had on the lives of this marginalised community. Not only were children enthusiastically learning through play but a number of mothers were actively involved learning the skills and importance of constructive playing with their children. The group also visited a number of thriving food gardens, well-tended by local women who provide vegetables to supplement the daily meal served to the children at each facility. Not only do these gardens supply the LETCEE facilities and feed families but they also enable the women to sell excess vegetables and earn a small income to purchase other necessities. On returning to the Dalton Club, guests were welcomed into the magnificently decorated hall with beautiful singing by the LETCEE staff. A delicious meal was shared by all who attended amidst much laughter, reminiscing and enthusiastic exchanging of ideas. Mary James paid tribute to the fact that LETCEE now provides Early Childhood Development services to more than 2 000 children across six rural communities in the uMzinyathi District and trains 250 women each year to become accredited ECD practitioners. The day ended with the presentation of a number of awards to long-serving staff who have been nurtured through the organisation to becoming qualified facilitators.