If the look of rapture on the faces of the young tots of Yomelelani Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the Hou Moed Centre in Zwelihle was anything to go by, then it’s more than clear that they are thoroughly enjoying their recently renovated place of learning.
Sharing in their happiness was the crowd in attendance at the official opening event of the new extension of Yomelelani that took place at the premises on Wednesday, 8 June 2016.
From being a crèche that only serviced 3 - 5 year old children, Yomelelani's structure changed to a fully-fledged ECD facility catering for kids from 3 months - 5 years in 2015. This, after abalone farming company Aqunion and other stakeholders, along with the Overstrand Municipality, set upon the ambitious task of upgrading and refurbishing the Hou Moed Centre which had fallen into disrepair.
ECD centres, like Yomelelani, provide its charges with nutritional nourishment, holistic intellectual development, as well as quality health care through the facilitation of health care services and social assistance programmes. Studies have proven that this crucial early phase of childhood learning produces short- and longer-term benefits for children later in the scholastic cycle; moreover those from marginalised and impoverished areas.
Besides playing a critical role in the foundation of human development, ECD organisations also afford work, training and empowerment opportunities to the community.
In her keynote address, Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie commended Aqunion, and all concerned, for the collective efforts that culminated in the upgrading of Yomelelani.
“As a passionate supporter of youth development, and in particular Early Childhood Development, I believe it is the joint responsibility of government, parents, the community and the private sector to ensure the complete development and wellbeing of our children,” said the Mayor.
This sentiment was echoed by Aqunion Managing Director, Jacques du Plessis who stated, “It’s such a feeling of satisfaction to know that we have played a hand in a project of this magnitude, knowing that it is making a significant difference in the lives of these little ones.
“What seemed improbable at first, eventually evolved to where we are today. This was only possible because of the very many who so willingly assisted. Now, Yomelelani has the capabilities of servicing 132 kids from the area, something that was almost unthinkable back then,” enthused du Plessis.
The event ended on a high note with a lively song and dance ensemble performed by the tiny pupils that had the audience clapping along in appreciation.