A community in rural Limpopo is celebrating following a partnership that resulted in a fully resourced creche, better equipped carers and good nutrition for preschoolers.
The partnership between Shoprite and Sweet Home Daycare Centre in Xigalo village, Malumelele followed the call made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his maiden State of the Nation Address to end poverty by educating poor children in early childhood.
Shoprite has and will in the coming months take hands with women heading up early childhood development (ECD) centres in a multi-pronged initiative that includes training for teachers and managers, structural upgrades and access to nutritional meals.
One of these women is Khomi Maluleke. She founded Sweet Home twenty years ago, but faced many challenges maintaining the school, which provides a home away from home, to 109 children under the age of five and employs six people.
Khomi first partnered with Shoprite last September, when Sweet Home was chosen as a beneficiary of the Shoprite Community Network initiative - which meant a once-off R10 000 donation to the school. In line with the retailer’s efforts to offer more sustained support to female community champions like her, Sweet Home was selected for a major intervention in which the Shoprite Group drew on the expertise of various implementation partners.
One of these was the Centre for Early Childhood Development (CECD), through which the retail giant was able to offer teacher training not only to carers at Sweet Home, but also their counterparts at seven other schools in the area.
- Rukea Shaik of the Centre for Early Childhood Development
They were also able to complete an additional classroom Khomi and her governing body had started to build.
Fighting hunger is a central pillar of Shoprite’s attempts to transform the communities in which it trades. Thus, for a year, learners at Sweet Home will be provided with a meal from the Lunchbox Fund. A food garden was also planted on the plot to ensure that there is always fresh vegetables available for the children to eat, courtesy of the Group’s long-standing partner, Food and Trees for Africa.
- Khomi Maluleke
Maluleke Thomas, from the local division of the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO), praised the retailer for the way in which it undertook to bring about change.
- Maluleke Thomas