The "Music Wall" is part of the newly designed day care center. It costs only 60 euros a year, so that a child can get fed up every day in the day care center "Ulundi Play Group". School nutrition is part of the commitment of "Joint Aid Management Deutschland e.V." - JAM for short - but the association does much more. Education is a key part of alleviating poverty. Here, the children can playfully take their first learning steps at an early age in a cheerful, clean and safe place.
Maria Monama – who is lovingly known to everyone as "Mama Maria" – is the founder and owner of the "Ulundi Play Group" preschool, which we had the honor of renovating for her and her children in the township of Villa Liza in Boksburg, near Johannesburg. Because demand for childcare is very high in this poor district, the town provided the land to "Mama Maria" free of charge. The town also pays the teachers' salaries. Thanks to ProCent and other sponsors, and in partnership with a highly motivated team of volunteers from Germany and Austria, we were able to successfully implement the project. The Ulundi Play Group has become a ray of hope in this poverty-stricken neighborhood. Since 2016, the preschool had been run in a rusty shipping container, which Mama Maria now uses as a store room. The container, which was very scantily furnished with scraps of carpet, was very cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer.
With the help of our partner organization "JAM South Africa", in just a few weeks a new building was constructed with group rooms, child-friendly sanitary facilities, a kitchen and a terrace with a shaded area.
The building is also connected to the water network. The new rain water collection tank serves as an additional source of water, for example to keep the new turf lawn constantly watered. The premises are protected by a colorful fence for the childrens' safety.
All of the internal and external spaces were painted with vibrant colors and equipped for children in just five days. The preschool is also equipped with educational toys, and all of the rooms feature solar lamps. This is a huge step since electricity is scarce in the neighborhood. An "Actros" sandpit was created within the space of a few days thanks to the creativity of the team members, and to the great joy of the children. Instead of a loading bed, this special truck has a sandpit with a sun shade. It was my great pleasure to hand "Mama Maria" the keys to the new children's paradise at the inauguration ceremony. "I'm so full of joy and so happy," she said, with gratitude.
The author, Christoph Eisele, works in asset accounting at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen and has submitted the ProCent project for funding.