by Melanie Du Toit
on March 15, 2016
4 min read

With hands clasped firmly with that of their buddy, sixty 5-year-old’s formed a small stampede and descended upon the entrance of the V&A Waterfront’s Two Oceans Aquarium—eager to see what hidden treasures of the deep were waiting inside.

Their feverish excitement filled the air with shouts of laughter on the bus ride from Khayelitsha—one of South Africa’s largest informal settlements and one of the poorest areas in Cape Town—as learners from Khumbulani Day Care Centre were brought into the heart of the city and to one of its most popular tourist attractions._MG_4665-1Despite having known a week before about their adventure to the aquarium, nothing could quite have prepared the kids for the giant Kelp forests seen behind floor-to-ceiling glass—home to darting penguins, colossal groupers, and a human scuba-diver of all things! The fun didn’t stop there. Little noses were pressed against fish tanks yielding flurries of brightly coloured ‘nemos’, and there were gasps of shock and awe as sharks glided closely by along the wall of the I&J Predator Exhibit.

After lines of little legs had wandered dimly-lit rooms unveiling scurrying crustaceans and long-limbed crabs, and the Penguin Exhibit’s troop of tuxedoed birds had brought sufficient delight (despite the fishy smell), the kids of Khumbulani settled down in AfriSam Children’s Play Centre for a puppet show.

Although the show may not seem like the main event of the day, for Mama Gloria—the founder of Khumbulani—it was particularly important: “When they see the life in the tanks, they can learn to identify different types of fish and see that there are plenty of other things under the sea”, she explained, “But with the puppet show, the kids are learning about recycling, looking after the environment, and most importantly—they are learning the skill of listening”.2016-03-09 (i) Khumbulani Aquarium Outing_056Rhino Africa has a long-standing friendship with Khumbulani Day Care Centre. This haven for HIV Aids-infected and -affected children has its roots in 2000 in the 2-bedroom home of Gloria Bebeza. A local from Khayelitsha township, Gloria saw that (often single) parents affected by the virus, and their children who directly or indirectly suffered from it, were in great need of support.

Rhino Africa is proud to have had a hand in the growth of Khumbulani which now cares for nearly 300 children daily. We helped fund the 3-story property where the day-care can now be found, and also provide a specially-formulated porridge designed to ensure the children of Khumbulani get as many nutrients as possible while in the steady hands of Gloria and her team. However, we want to take it one step further. Many of the children from Khayelitsha do not get the opportunity to see the incredible attractions that Cape Town has to offer—despite them all being in their back yard! In the words of Rhino Africa’s CRS Specialist, Teresa, “At Rhino Africa, we’re in the business of making dreams come true—and not just for our clients. We want to show visitors beautiful places, but we want to share them with our local communities as well—to help educate and uplift communities, and to foster a deep love and respect for the environment”.

Gloria and her team at Khumbulani are aiming to take their kids on educational trips every quarter, with hopes being that learners will get to walk on top of Table Mountain and picnic in the lush Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Imagine that Cape Town welcomes thousands of tourists to its shores every year, and there are Capetonians who’ve been living here their entire lives who have not been afforded the opportunity to experience just what makes South Africa’s Mother City so enchanting? Unfortunately, it is a reality for many.

By partnering with Rhino Africa or sponsoring an educational outing, you can lend a hand in making more dreams come true and bring the wonders of Cape Town to the children of Khumbulani. Are you interested in lending a helping hand to Khumbulani Day Care Centre? By donating just $500, you can make another dream for the kids of Khumbulani come true.

_MG_4499-1If you’re interested in partnering with us or sponsoring an educational outing for Khumbulani Day Care Centre, contact Rhino Africa’s CSR Specialist: Teresa Van der Bank: teresa@rhinoafrica.com

Special Thanks Goes To:
MannaBay – for providing the children with delicious lunch boxes
iKapa Coaches – for transporting the teachers and students of Khumbulani safely to the Aquarium and back
Rhino Tripping – for transporting Rhino’s staff and other teachers safely to the Aquarium and back
Two Oceans Aquarium – for being fantastic hosts2016-03-09 (i) Khumbulani Aquarium Outing_038