Storm ruins Cedara crèche

2019-11-14 09:53
The Never Neverlands crèche in Cedara after the storm.

The Never Neverlands crèche in Cedara after the storm.

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“When I saw the Grade 2 classroom lying in ruins, at first I panicked and then I burst into tears.”

Zandile Khoza, the headmistress at Never Neverland Crèche at Cedara, on Wednesday told how she was overcome by emotion when she saw the enormous damage to the school’s structure and equipment in the wake of Tuesday night’s devastating storm.

“I was called to the school and went there immediately. Luckily, I had my mom and dad with me, because I just didn’t know what to do. We saved what we could straight away on Tuesday night.

“I also took some of the pupils home with me because their homes had been damaged and they had nowhere to sleep. My neighbour’s home also collapsed, so I was helping her too.”

Khoza has fund­raised for, built and equipped the school, which serves almost 80 disadvantaged children from nearby communities.

The Grade 2 classroom was ripped apart by the force of the winds, and what wasn’t destroyed by the swirling gusts, was soaked through by the torrential rain. The corrugated iron roof lay on the ground some way off from the wooden structure, among the neat rows of plants in the school’s vegetable garden.

“The Fishes classroom, for the children aged 20 months to three years old, was also damaged by the wind and rain, along with a Wendy house. Everything is soaked.”

But, there was a bright side amidst the gloom on Wednesday. Volunteers, mainly from Hilton, came to assist at the school, using their muscle power in a race against time to repair and cover what they could before the next cloudburst.

Teachers and volunteers wiped water off salvageable books, while huge piles of ruined workbooks and textbooks had to be thrown away — a year’s worth of school work destroyed.

On child-sized tables in one of the classrooms, school photos of beaming children had been laid out to dry. On others, sodden school bags and books were open, with hopes that they’d dry. Volunteers helped cart the wooden school benches and desks to the veranda of another building, while others dismantled the collapsed classroom, salvaging what building materials they could.

Khoza said the school still needed any help it could get. “We need cleaning materials, and mops and brooms and new books for the pupils. We need to rebuild as soon as possible.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn storm

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