On Friday, 1 February 2019, representatives from Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB), The Vuya Foundation, Henkel South Africa, as well as the Rotary Clubs of Newlands and Pinelands celebrated the opening of three new classrooms at the Oppie Koppie Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD).
Oppie Koppie is situated in Prince Alfred’s Hamlet, Ceres; a presidential poverty node, riddled with unemployment. Since its inception, the ECD has seen over 250 seasonal farm workers’ children graduate and enter primary school. Each year Oppie Koppie has educated and fed an average of 78 children, ranging in age from 3 to 6 years old.
Over the past 8 years the area has grown with an influx of people coming in from the more rural areas looking for employment. This resulted in a greater need for childcare and education.
With a waiting list of 55 children and with the ECD at capacity, the Vuya Foundation recognised the urgent need to expand the ECD. Facilitated by the Rotary Clubs the project sought to double the capacity to 6 classrooms and ablutions for 150 children.
Newlands Rotarian, John Winship notes “the immediate request was for a modest expansion but we were committed to building greater capacity given future demand and the belief that we could find funders for the project”.
“We are very proud and happy to have played our part in growing the community of Ceres and the ECD. We greatly believe that children should be equipped with facilities and the building blocks in order to build bright futures,” added Priscilla Urquhart, Public Affairs and Marketing Communications Manager for CCPB.
“The opening of these new classrooms is a dream come true! We would not have been able to see this vision become a reality, had it not been for our generous funders and friends of the Vuya Foundation, who have selflessly given towards this cause. We are truly indebted to them,” said Mercia Isaacs, Founder and President of the Vuya Foundation.
One of the event highlights was the return of some of the first graduates of Oppie Koppie now in grade 6, to sing at the event as part of St Mark Primary School Choir to honour their “Ma Isaacs” on the day.
Those in attendance at the opening ceremony included; the Mayor of Witzenberg, Cllr Barnito Klaasen and other local government officials such as Mr David Nassen, the Witzenberg Municipal Manager along with the Club Presidents of both Newlands and Pinelands Rotary Clubs.