The Ikaya Pre-Primary School development is now in its tenth year, a project that has received support from a number of the partners Bruce has worked with over the past decade. Driven by Jaco van der Merwe in collaboration with school principal Ms Kajima and with the support of The Drift and Accolade, Ikaya has developed from an empty netball field to Wendy house classrooms in 2004, into what is now a brick and mortar pre-primary school for over 200 children with seven classrooms, boy and girl toilets, an office, kitchen and library. The development of the Grade R facilities has utilised local community skills and employed 60 men and women.
Bruce Jack and Ms Kajima
Jaco van der Merwe
Kayamandi is located outside Stellenbosch and is reportedly home to 25 000 residents, however the 2011 census is believed to only account for 50% of the township’s population. Before 2004 a lack of pre-primary facilities meant that children would begin education in Grade 1, often an unmanageable transition from semi-literate homes where an introduction to classroom discipline and stationery was not possible to formal education. This meant that a disproportionate amount of time was spent on basic pre-primary skills rather than on the Grade 1 syllabus.
School beanies will now become a part of the winter uniform
Jaco cajouling the kids into song and dance
The initial, temporary classrooms built in 2004 were basic Wendy houses until donors and sponsors raised sufficient funds to build the first brick classrooms, toilets, kitchen and office in 2005. More classrooms have since been added and a library established in one of the Wendy houses. The school is designed to hold 125 children but the reality is close to double that with a waiting list. Until recently government funding for education did not extend to Grade R teachers, pupils or facilities and it is through donations and sponsors that salaries have been paid to the teachers and cleaners. Grade R teachers are now eligible for government paid salaries but maintenance and up keep continues to be the responsibility of sponsors.
Besides creating construction jobs, Ikaya Pre-Primary’s evolution has helped develop teaching skills, where day-care mothers are now qualified Grade R educators who have completed their diplomas at Boland College. This together with several international volunteers helping at the pre-primary school is helping to lift the education standard offered to students. The infrastructure and education for Grade R pupils means they are able to enter primary school familiar with a classroom environment and have elementary knowledge of reading and writing. Ikaya’s pre-primary school has given hundreds of children a valuable stepping-stone into their educational careers.
Our next project is to create sustainable vegetable gardens for the pre-primary school and its pupils, utilising The Drift’s resources during our quieter winter months. We’ve been conducting several reconnaissance missions to Kayamandi in preparation of the project. During the most recent of these we took along beanies for the pupils to keep their excited little heads warm against what is proving to be a biting Cape winter
Ikaya Pre-Prmary Classrooms