Creative woman providing pre-school education for children of informal settlement

By Thomo waga Nkgadima

child protection week and poverty alleviation
Members of the SAPS and Correctional Services visited the Creche during the community outreach child protection awareness day

When times were difficult for Lydia Makgai (32) to get a job. She did not give up hope. She is now a proud owner of Refentse Day care.

The unemployed Makgai of Kammeldrift informal settlement near Tshwane, created employment for herself and one unemployed woman through her creative thinking.

“I had to make a plan to look after my children and provide for them” she said.

She sat down and deep in thinking about what she can do after many years of job hunting without success.

Makgai is a proud owner of a crèche that operate in a shack and accommodate 40 children.

About 2000 household Ravaged by poverty are staying in an informal settlement without electricity, pit toilets and clean tap running water.

Most parents who bring their children to the day care are unemployed single parents relying on child support grants for survival but some are working nearby as seasonal farm workers.

Those families started to settle on plot 175 since 2002 as results of unlawful evictions by farm owners.

Tommy Van Wyk killed himself in 2000 and his son sold the 8 hector of plot 175 to Nokeng municipality for an amount of R3.5 million. However, the process of proclaiming the area is dragging too long.

During community outreach child protection awareness day Department of Correctional Services (DCS) officials in partnership with South African Police Services (SAPS), Department of social welfare and Community Development Workers (CDW) visited the crèche at the settlement to donate toys.

According to supervision and monitoring manager, Simon Ntlatleng, most offenders under their care are from poverty stricken communities.

In an effort to heed to the government’s call for war against poverty.

“We cannot only be seen taking care of those who wronged the society but also to the law abiding citizens at our vicinity” He said.

He urged children to break the silence against abuse.

“You must not talk to strangers, engage in drugs and report parolees who insist to send you to buy beer for them knowing that you are under age, so that we can take them back to prison” he explained.

Countless toys and teddy bears were donated to children attending the crèche.

Happy children started to sing songs of praise to visitors appreciating gifts given to them.

“Every child is my child” Ntlatleng concluded.