Within Ceres and in particular the Prince Alfred Hamlet region, extreme poverty and unemployment exists. Many of the parents are employed as farm workers, often on a seasonal basis. Prior to 2010 the town was the only one in the district that was without an Early Childhood Development facility. As a result the children entering Grade R were struggling to adapt, since they were lacking any form of foundational pre-school preparation. Thus the need for a crèche was very clear and dire.
Recognizing this desperate situation, a partnership was established between the Witzenberg Municipality, Vuya Foundation and Henkel Germany. A 90-year lease was signed allocating land for the erection of the first crèche in Prince Alfred Hamlet.
The crèche is situated in the Prince Alfred Hamlet area within the Witzenberg Municipality. Named Oppie Koppie, the crèche accommodates 80 children ranging in age from 3 years old to 6 years old. Oppie Koppie was built in 2010 and was officially opened in December 2010.
Henkel Germany arranged for 10 German architect University students, to come to Ceres, to design and build the crèche. It was an extreme culture shock and eye opener for these students who lived and worked in the Marks Church Hall in Prince Alfred Hamlet until the job was done!
The German design of the crèche is something we are immensely proud of. It has given our little ones a modern and environmentally friendly school and the design also ensures that the classrooms stay cool in summer and warm in winter.
The management of the crèche comes with lots of happiness and lots of challenges and we are always in need of kind assistance. Ceres is a region which experiences extreme weather conditions throughout the year. Extreme cold in winter and sweltering heat in summer. We appeal to all Vuya Foundation friends to come forward with donations of winter woollies, jackets, jerseys and tracksuits. In fact anything that will make these precious children more comfortable and ready to learn will be appreciated.
As the end of the school year approaches we look ahead to next year and a new intake of precious little ones, all the while saying a sad goodbye to our older learners whom we proudly send school ready to primary school and Grade R!