“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.” Mark Twain

Posted on September 19 2012 by FHPPS in School

Well there has certainly been a lot of good cheer going around. In the last few months I have been so encouraged by the reaching out of Fish Hoek Pre-Primary (FHPP) to a preschool in Masiphumelele called Rainbow Educare.

This is a hand up project that is being driven by Paula Wickham (Principal of FHPP). You may not know this but there is actually government funding that can be accessed for each pre-school student in Masiphumelele. Although only a few rand, if this money could be accessed, it would make a huge impact on the education of the little ones who would otherwise be on the street.

The conundrum is that to access the government funding the pre-school first has to meet the entire first world standards that our own pre-primary schools need to meet. That includes correct building requirements with plans, fire exits and fire doors, correct amount of toilets etc.

Sharing the beach buggy in the garden!

Knowing that there were tremendous needs in the pre-primary schools in Masi, the principal and teachers of FHPP decided to attended a meeting (in their own time) with Living Hope and Masicor (two organisations that work with pre-schools in Masi) where the teachers voiced their interest in assisting in partnering a school in Masiphumelele. It was then decided to identify a school that could be partnered by FHPP so that they could be assisted through the quick sands of bureaucracy and also glean valuable knowledge from a school with over 44 years of experience.

The pre requisite to identifying a school to partner with was simple:

Find a school that could potentially in the future meet governments requirements

Find a school where the principal is as passionate about children and their education as is found at FHPP.

Cornelia with 6 Fish Hoek Pre-Primary Children when they visited Rainbow Educare in Masi to hand over food parcels that they had collected as part of a Mandela Day initiative.

The school that was identified is Rainbow Educare – run by a wonderful lady named Cornelia. I always find it interesting when engaging a person who is living out their purpose, it seems their passion and enthusiasm always exceeds their challenges. The conversation I had with Cornelia left me with the impression of a lady who absolutely loves children and will do anything for them.

Having worked as a child minder for 15 years, her employers decided to emigrate and thus Cornelia found herself out of work. With a standard 9 she did not know what she wanted to do. She then helped out at an organization called “safe and sound” and she says in her own words “I just fell in love with the children”.

Cornelia was then advised to do a level 4 course which she successfully completed. She now has her own day care crèche and is responsible for about 100 kids.

When I asked her what it is that gives you the greatest joy, she answered “What I love is taking the children off the street and protecting them”. When asked what were her biggest challenges she explained that it was when the rain came as too much rain means the moms and dads lose out on work days and then they cannot afford any money to send the children to school.

My prayer for the future would be that the relationship between these two schools could grow so that many more children in our community could benefit from the incredible experience and expertise of FHPP. I believe the benefit to our own children will be invaluable. When the Masi kids came to FHPP for a visit the other day, I overheard two young Grade R ladies having a very interesting deliberation as to why the Masi kids run around so much, which I found very entertaining.

Well done to Paula and all the teachers for their dedication to education.

If you find yourself in a glum or depressed state as Mark Twain must have done, maybe it’s time to cheer someone else up. Please contact Paula if you would like to assist or have any good ideas.

Written by the Board Chairman Craig Peiser.