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Not too far from the grandeur of Cape Town’s Table Mountain lies the wind-swept land of the Cape Flats. Hugging the Indian Ocean coastline of False Bay the area is divided into different townships with names like Bishop Lavis, Langa, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha. The townships are products of both informal settlement and forced government relocation of the past. Today Khayelitsha is considered the 8th biggest slum in the world.
It was in a small home in Khayelitsha that a woman named Gloria Bebeza started a crèche 15 years ago. It began with just her and a few children from the neighbourhood. The crèche grew rapidly as most parents had jobs in the city that was an hour bus journey away. Today the crèche, Khumbulani, has over two hundred children and 16 staff members. The premises and facilities, however, have not been able to develop at the same speed.
A few years ago some land became available that the crèche was in desperate need of and Rhino Africa got involved to assist in purchasing the land. Through a partnership with a German charity, Förderverein Khayelitsha, we have come a long way quickly. We were able to acquire three plots and on that we have started building a three story crèche that should easily cater for the needs of Khumbulani and the community. For now the children are in the surrounding houses.
We recently dropped off a specially formulated porridge that we regularly donate to the crèche which is often a primary source of nourishment for the children. The children were just finishing their lunch and lying down for their daily nap. With their shoes piled up outside the room they lay next to each other neatly and quietly, like a crowded parking lot of well-behaved kids. When we passed, a few would silently stare at us with their big eyes, their tummies full and their minds resting after a morning of learning and games. While there we popped in to see how the building of the new crèche was coming along. The frame of the building is up and the windows have just been put in. With 6 builders working on the project, the progress is slow but steady. The crèche will be finished by the end of the year and will be used from next year onwards.
Khumbulani is just one of the important projects that Rhino Africa is involved with. We also contribute to The Wildlife Act, Save The Rhino Trust and Good Work Foundation. In July, our annual Challenge4aCause will see us cycle through Namibia’s unforgiving and spectacular Damaraland in support of the highly endangered desert adapted black rhino population of the same region.
Here are some photos to give you a better idea of the children and community involved in the project;
Two boys chat on the street corner with the building site behind them.
The children of Khumbulani say hello!
A light moment shared between the teachers while the children nap.
The tiny toddler shoes are neatly stacked outside waiting for their owners.
Two tired toddlers lie by the entrance to their classroom with their dozing classmates behind them.
A sneaky look from over the shoulder of an engrossed eater.
A girl in the Grade R class beams a smile at our photographer.
A 5-year-old boy digs into his lunch.
No no, you’re dong it wrong, you put the round end in your mouth.
The porridge is carried in a typically African fashion by a Khumbulani teacher.
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Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.
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Well done, Rhino Africa.
Makes my heart sing – such a desperate need out there!!
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