On the 24th February, several representatives of the Love Trust departed Midrand for KZN, to visit the blossoming ECDs and TTCs in the Southern Berg area, including Creighton, the Underberg and Himeville.
Our first stop was the ECD Teacher Training centre, where 34 future teachers are currently completing their Level 4 course. The enthusiasm of the facilitator, Felicity, was made obvious by the students’ eagerness to learn. Based in Himeville, the facility is quite remote and students travel from as far as Bulwer, Creighton and Ixopo, to participate in Felicity’s course, with the fervent hope of teaching young minds themselves and making a difference to their communities.
The following day saw our party making its way to 4 of the Early Development Centres in and around the Creighton area.
There are over 210 learners spread between these 4 facilities, ranging from 3 to 6 years old.
Despite the obviously desperate conditions, we were encouraged by what we saw. For instance, over 25 children gather daily to be taught at the Siyathuthuka pre-school despite it not having access to running water or electricity. The children seemed content, though, and greedily consumed both knowledge and food with unfailing gusto.
We spent the afternoon in a workshop with all the teachers from the area, going through creative ways to teach the five senses to their students. Zimbili, our local fieldworker, is doing a fantastic job with the ECD teachers, and the sense of community between them is palpable.
Friday was filled with visits to the 5 Himeville and Underberg ECDs. As with our Creighton visit, it is heartening to see what progress can be made in communities where resources are not readily available. Once again, water and electricity are scarce, yet learners happily travel kilometres on foot to fill their heads and bellies with goodness.
Our discussions with the teachers, teacher trainers and local fieldworkers were productive and fruitful.
On Saturday, the last day of our trip, we joined 17 ECD teachers at the local teacher training level 4 course class. Many of these women leave home before sunrise to make the class, showing admirable dedication and commitment to making a difference.
This is our first trip to these centres in the Southern Berg, but heart-warming welcomes and smiles filled with hope ensure that this will not be our last visit to this beautiful and inspiring area.