Thirty little faces from Qhokama Village outside Ngqeleni were in jovial spirits on Tuesday 17 July 2012 as they were officially presented with a brand new pre-school by the Nyandeni Local Municipality in association with Eastern Cape Appropriate Technology Unit (ECATU).
The community crèche was founded in 1994 and was previously housed in a dilapidated building due to lack of funding. The municipality stepped in as part of their Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDC) programme and roped in ECATU as the implementing partner, providing project management and social facilitation services.
As per the ECATU model of prioritising community participation, the community of Qhokama was involved in the construction of Zizamele pre-school and the project has created more than 150 temporary job opportunities. Delivering the keynote address at the event, Nyandeni Local Municipality executive mayor, Councillor Thokozile Sokhanyile said that the official launch of the pre-school was part of their participation on Nelson Mandela Day. She stressed the importance of community ownership of such initiatives, that as much as government’s role is to build such structures, it is up to communities to maintain them. The municipality also handed over 13 tables and 30 chairs to the community.
Speaking on behalf of the Department of Social Development, which is currently funding Early Childhood Development Centres, Mr Lungisa Macingwane stated that the collaboration of public institutions such as ECATU, the municipality and the provincial government in community projects was crucial for the success of service delivery. Also present in this event were Nyandeni Municipality councillors, the Department of Education and traditional leadership.
The Community of Qhokama has supported this initiative by providing state of the art furniture such as electric stove, fridge, flat screen television and many other items.
The pre-school was built simultaneously with another one at nearby Mankosi Village which will also be handed over to the community soon. ECATU has constructed two more pre-school in Libode.