Cape Town – Genadendal, a former missionary centre, is a beautiful town of rolling hills and beautiful fynbos spread across lush and fertile land. Its air of tranquility is an appealing alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city. Horses and cows graze peacefully and freely, completely unperturbed by the 
presence of humans.

This seemingly perfect perspective is marred by the abject poverty and unemployment of the locals. Against all odds, the people of Voorstekraal are hopeful in the belief of a better tomorrow.

“There is nothing for us to do here as youth except for seasonal farm work or working in a restaurant. I want to finish my sound engineering course so I can go to Cape Town and live there,” said resident Wilfred Africa, 30.

Berea, Voorstekraal, Boschmanskloof and Genadendal are all individual settlements, but are collectively referred to as Genadendal. There are a little more than 8000 people that call the area home.
Agriculture is the primary economic activity where most of the residents work. Off-season though, there is no form of income for uneducated residents.

Voorstekraal Educare, an ECD in the heart of this settlement, is the only place where children from the ages of two to six can go to learn and psychologically thrive.
There are currently 30 children enrolled at the centre, paying a monthly fee of R80. The centre can take a maximum of up to 50 children, but the absence of an income is one of the biggest barriers and parents are forced to keep their kids at home.

Voorstekraal Educare has been in operation for 40 years and had to constantly change locations before settling at a church. They were allowed to use the church space on condition that they ensure the chairs and pews were moved into position in time for church activities and sermons. Given that there are only two staff members, this task is burdensome.

Lolita Kroukamp, principal of Voorstekraal Educare has been running the school for over seven years as a volunteer and student teacher, and when the principal of the school resigned two years ago she was assigned the position with minimum salary, due to lack of funds.

On day 13 of Heart FM’s #16DaysForYouth initiative, Voorstekraal Educare received two containers as a permanent space for the crèche to operate from.
This would provide a bit of permanence and relieve them of the task of moving furniture week in and week out. In addition to this a stove was donated, as well as some mattresses and medical supplies.
“I am very thankful for Heart FM. The new teaching and learning space will give us a bit of room to teach the children without worrying about setting up the place every week,” said Kroukamp. 

-Babalwa Buba for Cape Argus

To assist Voorstekraal Educare contact Lolita Kroukamp on 0833758572.

Financial donations can be made to:
Account name: Voorstekraal Edu-care
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch: Caledon
Account number: 082181454