New Classrooms for Masi Educare

Since we last reported on the developments at Masi Educare four new container classrooms have arrived on site. It has not been an easy experience – as these pictures show. Not only is the space restricted but the soft ground took a lot of preparatory work before it was ready to accommodate the 3.5 tonne containers. The lorry they arrived on weighed an additional 8 tonnes.

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MasiEducare19052015 005Although autumn has been very dry so far, it was a rare wet day when the lorries arrived with the containers. Fortunately we had an expert crew, who were able to safely get the containers in place using a separate crane.

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The 12 m long containers will be refitted to make extra space available to the learners and allow the pre-school to accommodate its target of 150 children – up from the current 50. Check back here for further reports as we continue to work on the site.

Pupils Return to the New-Look Masi Educare

It has been some time since we last reported on Masi Educare – the pre-school in the old farmhouse at the center of Masiphumelele. Regular readers of this blog will know that the City of Cape Town has given Masicorp the remit to make the facility a sustainable resource for the community. We are delighted to report that both building work and the practical training of staff are going well.

Pictured below is our builder Clarence on site with his sister Sharon.

Clarence and Sharon

During the building work the children were relocated to the nearby Salvation Hall, where they adapted well and a high standard of teaching continued. The staff pulled together and worked hard to make the best of the temporary situation. Now they are ready to return to the school, with all the foundations, ground work, water, drainage and electrical supply in place. We hope you agree the new stoop looks wonderful.

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The project is not just about building work of course. The supervision of the children must be undertaken by qualified staff, which requires the upskilling of the principal and their assistants. With Masicorp support, the staff are undertaking a Level 4 National Certificate in ECD at the Center for Creative Education. The principal Lindi and her staff (seen below) have completed the theory side of the course. They have now started their practical training, with the tutors coming regularly to Masiphumelele to monitor their progress.

Lindi and her team

The good news has spread through the community and we are now receiving enquires from parents looking for a place for their children. At the moment there are 50 pupils, but when the building is complete, and new container classrooms have arrived, there will be space for over 150.

On behalf of all the children our thanks go out to all the local builders, volunteers and our generous overseas funders that have made this project to happen.

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Baby Shweshwe Clothing from Masiphumelele

You will have seen Ndileka Biyo if you have watched the video “Ulibali – This is Our Story” (available for viewing on the Maiscorp web site HERE). Ndileka’s fashion design business is features as one of our longest standing business entrepreneurship projects. Earlier this year we took some promotional pictures of the clothing she has produced for her Baby Shweshwe range, which we are delighted to showcase here.

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Ndileka inherited her sewing skills from her mother and was forced to use them to support her family when her husband became unemployed in 1988. She found her lack of a formal education was holding back her business and took herself back to high school, where she passed Matric in 1995. She later studied fashion design at the Cape University of Technology, graduating with a Diploma in Fashion Design in 2003.

Ndileka moved to Masiphumelele in 2006 where she made clothes for the local community and volunteered at the library, which was where she met Masicorp. With financial and mentoring help she founded her own business “Shweshwe” in 2008. Shweshwe is a printed dyed cotton fabric that is widely used in traditional South African clothing.

The small workshop that established with support from Masicorp is a popular destination on local township tours, where tourists often buy her produce. She also has sold her products from a stall in Tokai Forest Market and is looking at the possibility of space at the new Watershed development at the V&A Waterfront.

We hope you like her Baby Shweshwe range and please feel free to contact her using the details below.

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Ndileka Biyo, Baby Shweshwe

1574 Skina Road, Masiphumelele

Tel: 082 731 5560

e-mail: nbiyo@yahoo.com