Yesterday was the official opening of the V&A Waterfront’s Watershed development. The 50 million rand redevelopment of the former Craft Market and Wellness Centre, commonly known as the Blue Shed and the adjacent unused Workshop 17, is good news for Nondyebo Art. Nondyebo has been trading from the Blue Shed for several years as reported previously on our blog. During the redevelopment her stall was one of many that was moved to a less obvious location the Robinson Dry Dock. Now she is one of 150 small businesses housed in the prestigious development, with exposure to the millions of local and international visitors that the Waterfront welcomes on an annual basis.
Nondyebo Art now have a listing on the V&A Waterfront business website, which can be viewed HERE.
Masicorp continues to assist Nondyebo grow her business. To celebrate the launch of the new venue we have arranged for Ben Nimmo from Solid Ground – who runs a graphic design studio in Muizenberg – to develop a new logo for the business. A new website is also under construction.
In addition Masicorp volunteers have recently helped Nondyebo to better organize her bookkeeping practices. This will save her time and allow her to interact more efficiently with the South African Revenue Service, thus allowing her more time to work on the key activities of her business – producing innovative and beautiful individually hand-painted linens.
There was excellent news for Siyakhanya Educare Center this month when the pre-school received confirmation of their registration with the Department of Social Development (DSD). Like many pre-schools in Masiphumelele, and other poor communities, Siyakhanya began as an informal crèche run by well-meaning members of the community. Over time Masicorp has provided assistance with the pre-school by providing kitchen facilities and improving the building facilities on site. Providing safer, more hygienic structures to create loving and nurturing environments for the children and their adult support network is important, but is not the only step in becoming compliant with the DSD.
There is a need to show that the building meets local by-laws, particularly in areas such as fire safety. Additionally the supervision of the children must be undertaken by qualified staff, which requires the upskilling of the principal and their assistants. We are grateful for the support of the Unlimited Child who have assisted us by providing this training to the staff of Siyakhanya, and other pre-schools in the community.
Seen here is Fikiswa, whose niece is set to become the principal of the pre-school after undertaking a Level 4 National Certificate in ECD at the Center for Creative Education. Although building construction work is often the most visible and obvious improvement that NGO’s can make to pre-schools in communities such as Masiphumelele, the help that can be provided toward professional training is every bit as important. Together with the physical improvements to the building made by Masicorp, the upskilling of the staff has allowed Siyakhanya to apply for DSD registration.
Registration is a long process that involves much paperwork and liaison with the local authorities but is something that Masicorp is committed to undertaking through the Seedlings programme. We were delighted to receive notice that Siyakhanya has recently met the requirements for registration. This will ensure that a monthly grant is received for each child that will be used to provide meals throughout the day and cover some of the running costs of the pre-school. This is a major step forward in ensuring the sustainability of the pre-school and will ensure an improved learning environment – the children can now rest comfortably at nap-time.
Masicorp was recently pleased to welcome Will Bennett back to Ukhanyo School. Will is an American businessman and philanthropist who was one of the founding members of Californian clothing company, SOMB, (SHIRT OFF MY BACK). Based in Los Angeles the company are also well known for their ethical trading practices and generously donate a school uniform to a child in schools in Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa for every item they sell.
Will first visited us in March 2014. At Ukhanyo Primary School SOMB have kindly agreed to fund the provision of school track suits to each child , which has also benefitted the Sewing Café – another of Masicorp’s projects in the township. The ladies have been awarded the contract to produce the tracksuits and proudly posed with Will (left) and his girlfriend Rebecca (right – and proudly sporting the SOMB baseball cap).
Later at the school Will saw several children already wearing their tracksuits on what turned out to be a cold and wet spring day. The first batches of tracksuits were made for the younger children. On this visit Will was able to provide a donation of almost USD 3,000 that has helped us to provide tracksuits to the older children – as seen in the photograph below.
SOMB, together with our UK partron Dame Linda Dobbs have helped us to outfit virtually all of the school’s children in the characteristic brown and yellow tracksuits. It is now a common site for visitors to see children kitted out in tracksuits throughout Masiphumelele, not just the school. Many thanks to everyone involved in keeping the children warm throughout this school year.
For more images of SOMB uniform drops at donor schools throughout Africa please see their gallery HERE.