true-north-logo

2003/020144/08
Vrygrond Community Centre, Vrygrond, 7945
Tel: +27 21 823 7784
Directors: Werner Stadler; Stephen Stiekema; Vicky Kumm

StarBright first came in contact with True North in 2010 when Rachel Riley first visited Vrygrond. At that stage, Vicky Kumm, Director of True North, put Rachel in contact with Masikhule Educare and Overcome Heights Educare and supported her through that initial placement. In the following years Vicky and Rachel kept in touch and when StarBright’s second placement and subsequent exchange took place they were monumental in helping to make it a success through their knowledge and rapport with the local Vrygrond community. We plan to work with True North to support their goals both financially and professionally through our connection with Early Childhood Education in Australia. We have been inspired by the work that True North have been doing in the Vrygrond community and hope that we have a strong link with them in the future as we work towards common goals and initiatives.

True North desires to create a new generation of school-ready children, by supporting early learning initiatives within vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. True North currently provides practical teacher training, educational resources, structural improvement to current buildings and facilities, brand new creches, business training to principals, as well as ongoing support and monitoring. In tandem with these efforts valuable information has been gathered regarding the social dynamics within these communities, specifically as it relates to the education of young children.

Their goal is to transform these schools into professional and well managed facilities with adequate premises and high standards of education, including nutritious meals and other essential basic needs. True North aims to create a safe learning environment for all pre-school children under the care of fully trained staff. A high value is also placed upon the education of parents regarding their unique role within a well-rounded approach to early childhood development. The ultimate goal of True North is to ensure sustainable change and growth. For more information on the life changing work True North is doing visit www.true-north.co.za

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48 Trevor Siljeur Rd, Capricorn, 7945   |   078 658 5553 (Miriam Solani)

Masikhule Educare and their Principal Miriam Solani became a friend of StarBright in 2010 when Rachel first visited South Africa. Since then StarBright and Masikhule have undergone many changes. In 2010 Masikhule was being run in two rooms of Miriam’s house, with children cramped into the space. It is common for people in township communities to use space in their house to set up crèches. They had no purpose built facilities, the kitchen and bathroom of the house were used to prepare all the children’s food and for their toileting needs. There were no nappy changing facilities. The wall between the two rooms had been knocked down to allow the space to be opened up for the children. Since then, due to donor funding managed by True North, the whole crèche has been rebuilt and is new and clean. StarBright visited Masikhule again during the 2012 Exchange and Miriam was one of the teachers to come to Australia to participate in the mentoring program. Despite the visible physical improvements Masikhule are still in desperate need of ongoing financial support and teacher training to ensure that the staff motivation level and development of early childhood program’s is supported and continues to be effective for the children in their care. StarBright plan to continue to support Masikhule and their team in the future.

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Christine Overmeyer – 078 139 0825  |  Overcome Heights

Overcome Heights Educare is situated in a shipping container on the outskirts of Vrygrond in Overcome Heights. The situation is quite bleak with one window to let in light and air. The children are very cramped and the babies cots are filled with toys and blankets as they sleep. The kitchen consists of one sink and a stand-alone stove.  The toilet is a make shift one out the back and they have one portaloo (non flushing) There is no outdoor play space. The children however are permitted to play outside on the paving, this area is not secured with a fence or any boundary. The space in the crèche is quite an issue and impacts largely on the educational program. Educational resources are also very limited and could do with improvement. In 2012 StarBright supported Overcome Educare financially and logistically to build another room to increase the space for children. Despite this being an improvement the facilities are still less than adequate.

Overcome Heights has the best of intentions to provide quality care and education for the children in their care and are actively involved in progressing towards this through being involved in programs like True North’s Little to Much Project. It is obvious however that they are desperate for resources as well as support for teacher training. One of their teachers, Lholho Lukubeni came to Australia and participated in our mentoring program in 2012. StarBright would like to continue to support Overcome Educare in the future.