April 2023.

The re-opening and subsequent refurbishment of the small Philipvale ECD centre, in the Upper Karoo’s Philipstown has been greeted with much joy by the local community, understandably, as this is the only crèche in the area. With the added facilities, this key establishment has been able to steadily increase its numbers each month, with over 60 Philipstown children now attending each day.

Having closed down a year ago, funding and support from De Aar Solar Power, meant that the urgent repairs and upgrades could be attended in order for this facility to be re-opened.

As part of the solar plants community development programme, training of the governing committee, outdoor equipment, water supply and general repairs were undertaken. This included electricy connection, sewage upgrades and fencing to make sure the crèche is a safer and more comfortable learning environment for the young children that are now enrolled from this community.

“As with all our infrastructure support programmes, this renovation was flagged following an assessment of ECD centres in our surrounding communities. This was, however, a more urgent situation, hence, as soon as we were alerted to the closure of the centre last year, we intervened by calling a parents meeting, to engage with them to resolve the issue,” said Zuki Ndlela, Economic Development Specialist for De Aar Solar Power.

She added, “during this community engagement, we discovered that the main reason for closure was loss of funding due to mismanagement of funds, hence a new committee has been appointed and will be receiving funding in the new financial year.”

Speaking to Rudie Goliath, Chairperson of the Philipvale ECD centre, it is clear that in addition to the extensive upgrade, training provided by this programme is as important as the physical work undertaken. “We appreciate the training of our staff and for the school governing body members, who are now equipped and better prepared to carry out responsibilities relating to the running of our ECD centre.”

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