In memory of Aunty Pam

2020-03-17 06:00
Lee Holgate, a teacher at Victory Kids Pre-School, reads to her class on their first day.

Lee Holgate, a teacher at Victory Kids Pre-School, reads to her class on their first day.

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You may have noticed some changes on the corner of Kommetjie Road and 10th Avenue in Fish Hoek. If you take a closer look at 45 De Waal Road, you’ll find an exciting social enterprise which launched in January; and the community is rallying behind it.

In 1988, God’s Little Lighthouse Pre-School and Aftercare Centre began to serve children from all walks of life. Over time, with the changing landscape of post-apartheid South Africa, it primarily catered for children from Masiphumelele and Ocean View.

Charging low fees to make childcare accessible to those who could not afford it, thousands of children have been given care, meals and a safe space to play and grow while their parents worked.

The school closed at the end of last year shortly after Pam Keightley passed away. She and her husband, Rob, who died in 2003, founded the school.

Knowing how much Aunty Pam loved the children of this little school, Victory Church Cape Town, led by Lee and Jono Holgate, put in an offer to buy the property.

On Wednesday 15 January, Victory Kids Pre-School opened its doors to 90 children who would otherwise have had no school or childcare facilities to go to.

An early childhood development study conducted by local non-government organisation, MasiCorp, reports that 65% of young children in Masiphumelele receive moderate to appalling educare, or none at all.

“As a church we want to be a positive voice and provide practical help to our community,” said Jono. “At Victory Kids Pre-School the children still have a familiar, safe space to be while their parents work long hours but we aim to provide them with even more.”

The school aims to enable children’s spiritual, emotional, physical and academic growth; to provide a nurturing environment with caring, loving and qualified teachers; and to inspire children to dream and believe they can achieve anything.

“We want to help bridge the inequality gap by using early education as a foundation for change.

“We hope they will leave our pre-school ready to thrive in big school, believing that their future is bright,” explained Lee Holgate, who teaches the three- to four-year-olds.

The school already has three qualified teachers, along with teaching assistants for each of its year groups up to Grade R.

As it’s an old building, plenty of urgent work needs to be done to meet health and safety standards. All of this is being implemented behind the scenes in addition to the day-to-day running of the school.

The community is also showing how much it cares.

. The navy has made the pre-school its volunteering project for the first quarter. A team painted exterior walls with paint donated by Mica Hardware.

. Fish Hoek High School’s community group and other individuals spend time each week facilitating crafts, music, movement, educational and sports activities at the school. Various cleaning, gardening and general maintenance tasks are also being completed by volunteers.

. A crowdfunding campaign, started in December last year, has raised over R200 000 so far. Its goal is to raise enough money to pay off the property, refurbish and equip it.V To assist or to find out more, visit www.victorykids.org.za or email info@victorykids.org.za.

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