February 2022

A group of around 100 very excited young children, together with their teachers celebrated the official opening of the newly renovated Loyiso Early Childhood Development Centre, situated in the Galeshewe community of Kimberley.

“Our creche, which was built a while back, was in terrible condition and we were worried that it could have caused severe damage to the children. Because of our funders, our creche is now beautiful and far safer,” said Florence Montse, School Principal of Loyiso ECD Centre.

Droogfontein Solar Power funded the renovation of this ECD centre that cares for over 90 children from the Galeshewe community. The support covered urgent repairs and maintenance, and forms as part of the solar project’s Socio-Economic Development Programme, which has a keen focus on Early Childhood Development.

The need for this ECD’s infrastructure renovation was identified through a thorough needs analysis of the ECD facilities in the community areas of Riverton, Ritchie, Barkly West and Kimberley, commissioned by DFSP, to ensure that its economic development programme was well informed and met the needs of its beneficiary communities.

“Our priority is to create access to quality ECD in communities and assist with ECD centre compliance. We strive to ensure that ECD centres are not just day-care facilities, but centres of learning and development that are able to provide the best possible care,” said Zuki Ndlela, Economic Development Officer at Droogfontein Solar Power.

Prior to the renovation, this 10-years-old community centre had sustained significant foundational cracks all the way up to the roof, as a result of poor construction quality, which required urgent repairs. A structural engineer and a construction contractor were enlisted by Droogfontein Solar Power to oversee the repair of the cracks and to ensure the structure is sound.

In support of local procurement and enterprise development, the contracting firm and structural engineer outsourced specific trades to four local subcontractors.

The commitment to funding Early Childhood Development Programmes is part of Droogfontein Solar Power’s partnership and support of the Department of Education, which also includes funding for ECD practitioners from Riverton, Ritchie, Barkly West and Kimberley to upgrade their skills and qualifications. In addition, ECD centre managers receive management and mentorship support, and ECD centres are renovated and refurbished according to the needs analysis reports.