Emyezweni History

emyezweni

 

Emyezweni was started 16 years ago by Urban Voice as a Day Care facility for working women in the Xhosa community of Lwandle. It’s aim was to provide a safe place for children while their Mothers were at work. Children were enrolled and attended daily receiving breakfast and a cooked lunch.

Three local ladies were employed by the church to care for the children and basic child care and development courses were provided for the staff.
Urban Voice renovated the old hostel kitchens and a new roof was installed. The numbers of children attending the Day Care Centre fluctuated each year but were around 25 – 30 children on role each year.

In October 2001 a qualified primary school teacher began to work at Emyezweni and the older children were given pre-school activities to develop their literacy, numeracy and motor skills.

In April 2002 a team from a UK church came to visit Emyezweni and spent two weeks renovating the rooms and creating a proper Grade R classroom. The classroom was formally opened in April 2002 and new equipment was purchased with money provided by the UK charity Ukuthasa.

Over the next five years four new full time members of staff were added to the school (2 of whom being volunteers from the UK) and the children increased to 79 in total.
Staff were given training both on courses and by working alongside trained teachers in the school itself. We continued to receive support and encouragement from both Urban Voice and Ukuthasa and were able to offer medical and opthalmic screening to the children each year. We also had the privilege of receiving many volunteers from Europe from our links with Newfrontiers.

We joined a local Networking organisation called Connect Network and began to relate to other pre-schools and Day Care Centres in the local communities of Lwandle, Nomzamo and Zola.  Emyezweni became a central point for other crèche workers to meet and share resources and expertise.

In 2008 we held onto our Grade R children and began a mixed Grade R/1 class.

At the beginning of 2009 we decided to continue our dream of becoming a Primary School and increased our numbers to 89 with the addition of a fourth classroom.

2010 – 2015
Since then, the School at Emyezweni has expanded quite considerably and now has 138 children on role. Although the vision for a Primary School still stands, to date we have been unable to register with the department and so financially having Primary aged children has not been viable. As a result of this, the Primary classes have slowly been phased out and this year our last class (of Grade 3’s) will be leaving us in December.

However, since the decision has been made to phase out the Primary School, the Pre Primary classes have continued to grow and flourish. We currently have 4 Pre School classes, starting with our 2 year olds and going all the way up to our 5/6 year olds in Grade R. Our staff team has also grown and we now have 8 paid members of staff working at Emyezweni.

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