Open for education!

Learners back at school after months of being at home
Learners back at school after months of being at home

This week excitement was in the air as 60 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres across Makhanda opened their doors for pre-school education to commence after 175 days at home under higher levels of lockdown. The Makhanda ECD Collective, a partnership between Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE), the Centre for Social Development (CSD), local ECD Forum, the Department of Health and the Social Development was formed to make this possible.

After the economy was opened under Lockdown Level 2, many caregivers went back to work and it was difficult to find people to look after their children during office hours as ECD centres were not yet opened. Their children were also missing out on formative education. This is why the ECD Collective was formed, to help facilitate and see ECD centres opened.

The Learning Trust also came on board with a donation that saw 31 food parcels being delivered to schools. 34 more schools will receive food parcels in the coming week. 38 centres were assisted with personal protective gear and cleaning materials to ensure they comply with the government’s COVID-19 regulations before they open schools. School readiness inspections were done by the Department of Health. The Department of Social Development assisted schools with receiving funding and grants.

Makhanda citizens also contributed to making sure that learners have masks by the time schools open. There was a #1000ECDFacemasks campaign that was run by RUCE earlier in the year which urged individuals to donate a thousand masks. The campaign received just over 1200 masks and half of these were sewn by one individual, Elizabeth Smith. Elizabeth said she was very happy to see how her contribution made such a big difference, that she was not aware how impactful the generosity would be.

“Excellence works in partnerships when it comes to impact because you pull your resources, you pull your expertise, you pull the passions and the energy, so when one starts waning the other one backs them up and you will go further when you all work together”, said Diana Hornby, RUCE Director, reflecting on the importance of partnerships and how the collective worked well as a team.  

Boniwe Msimango from CSD and Anna Talbot from RUCE commended the willingness of ECD practitioners to come on board. They were impressed with how everyone was on the ball and ready to work together in ensuring that centres are opened without any glitches.