Cause Index

Thembinkosi Day Care Centre

Patricia Vuka started the creche almost incidentally
around 10 years ago. She had a disabled child and
while looking after the child, other people started
dropping off their abled and disabled children at her
shack. She very quickly realised this is her passion
and started the creche. In the beginning she
had no support network or money or any
training. And she had serious setbacks such as her
shack being gutted by fire on three occasions
already and her own child dying after two incredibly
hot days last summer. (We measured temperatures
of around 45 degrees Celsius for two days in a row
and she simply had nowhere to go with the children
in the intense heat.) But Patricia doesn't take no for an answer and every time bounces back. She
arranged with a local church to help with food for the children, went on educare courses to be able
to give the children a more structured pre-school education and recently received a grant from social
services to be able to appoint two full-time staff
But Patricia's big dream is about to be realised. She
has applied for a house from the local municipality.
After years of being on a waiting list and after having
been allocated a piece of land some three years ago
already, the building is finally in progress. Henda
and I visited them with little Gerrie and took some
pictures of the new 50 square metre premises in
progress. It should be finished within the next 6
weeks. Patricia is incredibly upbeat and can't wait to
move over from her shack which is very crowded at
the moment.

Henda and I have received money from the Old
Mutual foundation as well as from Fien and Pieter
Kock and their group of friends from the Netherlands
to use to the benefit of Thembinkosi. (I want to
thank Fien and Pieter especially who transfer funds
on a regular basis) My business has also contributed
a little bit and Henda and I have given some
money from our personal funds. We use this
money to help on an ad-hoc basis with food or
whatever other need she may have. We have,
however, decided that it will be very important to
build a proper fence around the premises in order to
allow the children to play outside, but still being
safe. Therefore we have saved most of the money we received over the past two years and now
have in excess of R30 000 in Thembinkosi's bank account. This should go a long way to build a
prefabricated cement wall. We have not obtained quotations yet, but my guess is the material
should be around R30 000. As we know Patricia, she has already lined people up to help with
erecting the wall and should save a lot on labour cost.
The reality however is that the children still come from desperately poor homes where there are
mostly very poor sanitation and subsequent health problems. Often the parents are unemployed
and simply send the children to the creche because they don't have the means to look after them.
At the creche they will at least get food and some very basic education. So Patricia will need
ongoing support to be able to supply these children with proper care facilities and take over some of
the support work which they cannot receive at home. One of the things I would still like to help
them with is to pay a doctor to go out to the creche once a month and do medical check-ups.
Especially in winter times the children fall ill very often. Patricia has also asked for a computer so
that they can type their own letters instead of
having to go to the stationery shop to have it typed
over every time. And so the list goes on and on...
We obviously all think about the plight of the poor
from time to time and wonder whether we should
give more time or money to support them. I don't
know what is enough either. But what I do know is
that we are making a small difference in the lives of
Patricia and her group of children and that is very
gratifying. In fact, every time I return from
Patricia's place and see how she makes the best of
her circumstances, it gives me hope for the future.
Patricia is such an inspiration to everyone around