THE MFULENI TOWNSHIP COMMUNITY
Ncedulunthu Educare center is located in the heart of the Mfuleni Township about 18 miles southeast of Cape Town in South Africa. The school consists of a tiny shack attached to the back of a small township house. Like most of the townships in South Africa, almost half of the population is unemployed and lives without electricity or running water. Most live in shacks built by hand with found, inexpensive materials.
THE MAMA'S OF MFULENI AND THEIR DAYCARE CENTERS
The most fortunate of Mfuleni's children are taken off the streets and are cared for during the day (and often beyond) by dedicated "mama's". These children are piled into little shacks which are haphazardly constructed and added on to the backs of the mama's homes.
According to Ikamva Labantu, "(f)or decades, women in poverty-stricken townships have responded to the need for daycare of children who are unattended to. " These dedicated woman are providing a desperately needed service to their community. Most have no experience or training in early childhood education or development.
While the mamas are certainly protecting and caring for their charges to the best of their abilities, they lack the funds to provide proper educational environments.
Even under the supervision of the mama's, without further intervention, the children's prospects for acquiring an education are bleak. According to Ikamva, usually "these pre-schools are started from tin shacks in which hygenic and safety conditions are appalling and where no effective learning and development takes place."
Photos provided by Ikamva Labantu and The Moser Family
THE CHILDREN OF MFULENI:
Most parents in the township travel to other locations for work and have no options for childcare.
Typically even very young children are left alone to take care of one another and/or to fend for themselves in often deplorable and dangerous circumstances.
Violent crime is rampant and a serious problem, especially for young children.
Many children have been abandoned or orphaned and/or are living in "child headed households." Mama Nozukile, the head teacher of our school project there, is caring for one such family.
Please click on the photo gallery below to view additional images of Mfuleni and our project.
To learn more about the our project in Mfuleni please go to the Ncedulunthu Educare Project page.