FINISHING TOUCHES AND FINALE FOR FACE SCHOOL

The ‘Home of Love’ (Ekhaya Lothando) School got the final finishing touches to building work when 18 of the FACE team descended on Masiphumele for a week in February 2014.
It was the climax of more than a year of fundraising by the group of friends that raised more than £48,600 covering the cost of construction of the new classroom building, improvements to the existing building, a new toilet block, covered and open play areas, a laptop computer, class furniture, educational materials and teacher training.
FACE PlaqueFACE Team 23 (2)
Masicorp, who have overseen the project, gave the team a schedule of works that would see the school completed during their visit and in time for an official opening party at the end of the week on Friday, February 21. The list of outstanding work included redecorating all of the outside of the main building, perimeter walls and railings, and inside the third classroom, plus cementing in windows and ceiling repairs.
 FACE Classroom
Work got under way each day at about 8am and also involved assistance from Masicorp’s Project Manager, Al Ritchie and site foreman Raymond. Leading the FACE team’s efforts on site was Phil Cockerton, being the only one who genuinely knew anything about building works.
“Everyone put their backs into it and I think we were all really surprised and happy by how much was achieved during that week,” said Phil. “It was quite something to have so many people busily working alongside each other. There was a great sense of achievement at the end of it.”
FACE paint spillFACE Main building
In addition to the building works roughly half the FACE crowd, mainly the ladies, took the 30 plus pupils on two day trips, one to the science museum in Cape Town and the other to the nearby child-friendly Imhof Farm.
FACE founder member Stena Riches said: “Quite simply we all fell in love with the children on those two days. They are just adorable and it made all that hard work of fundraising worth every minute.”
One of the best aspects of the new school was the quality of the completed project, in particular the new classroom block to the rear, which had specially vaulted ceilings with a row of high windows to give it a truly airy feel. Considerable praise is due to architect Graham Finlayson. A stainless steel commemorative plaque was designed and made by Sam Holland, a sculptor and FACE founder member. In addition another hand-carved wooden plaque was presented by Masicorp. However, perhaps the most attractive memory of the FACE team left behind was the image of a tree painted onto a wall using each of the FACE team members’ hand imprints to form the design, including ones for those unable to be present.
 FACE Team Tree
One of Masicorp’s main project team and experienced construction director Colin Blaikie explained that these new surroundings had a significant impact on the children. He said: “The thing that surprised me most was the effect of the building on the children. You could immediately see that it improved their whole attitude and behaviour. I have never seen that kind of change purely from a better environment.”
At the official opening the children entertained with songs under the guidance of Dr Sophie Billington, who has been the critical link between the school teachers and pupils with FACE. At the start of the week the teachers and some mothers had also greeted the arrival of the team with songs and dancing.
Andrew Smith. Masicorp’s CEO, had worked tirelessly to co-ordinate the scheme and expressed his pleasure at the opening in seeing it all come to fruition. “We have been so impressed by FACE. Thanks to their incredible fundraising this pre-school is now an example we can show others of just what can be achieved.”
Also present at the opening were two pupils of West Lodge Primary School, Pinner, Middlesex, which played a major role in helping to raise funds and formed an important link between children from the UK with their ‘adopted’ new friends. Joshua (8) and Julian (6) Luiz were guests of honour and mixed happily with the Masiphumele pupils.
The most important attendees at the official opening were undoubtedly Priscilla, who founded the school, and her daughter Indiana, who now works there as it’s leading teacher. The ever-smiling Indiana expressed their obvious delight: “We are so incredibly grateful to all of you and we promise that many children will now be helped thanks to you.”
After the official opening everyone enjoyed a Braai (barbecue) at Decks restaurant, when a further aspect of the FACE efforts was highlighted with the presentation of a laptop computer to Indiana. This was part of the group’s wider funding of teacher training for Indiana at a Montesori school and education assistance for another future teacher at the school.
Nick Jenkins, of FACE, summed up the week of work and the year plus of fundraising: “It has been something none of us will ever forget, a true lifelong memory. We could not be more pleased with the end result and seeing the smiling faces of those little children was the ideal reward. Now we look forward to hearing how the school is doing and the children progressing.
“Most of all it was marvellous to see what a group of friends could do by coming together. In all there are 31 founder members of FACE, and although not all were able to travel to Masiphumelele for the opening week, everyone was just as important and did their bit. There were so many different fundraising events and although at times it was hard work, just as importantly, it was great fun. It showed what a great bunch of friends can achieve and made you proud to be one of them.”
The 18 members of the team that travelled to Masiphumele were: Kaye and Steve Bishop, Di and John Brice, Joy and Phil Cockerton, Marion and Nick Jenkins, Jackie and Tony Mankelow, Rachael and Don Pilcher, Nicki Purdie and Jordan Jenkins, Stena and Steve Riches, and Bob and Helen Steele.
FACE Team 27 (2)
Equally vital to the project, but unable to attend for a variety of reasons were; Joy Douglas and Joel Jenkins, Clare and Scott Elsey, Glynis Fowler and Len Smith, Jackie Hearn, Sam and Paul Holland, Chris Oliver and Ron Price, and Angela Welham and Eric Goodwin. Special mention must also go to Athena Douglas, who was the teacher at West Lodge Primary School, who led their extremely successful fundraising efforts.

SCHOOL RUNS UP BIG DONATION

A group of 23 teachers and parents from West Lodge Primary School in Pinner, Middlesex, ran the Reading Half Marathon and raised more than £4000 for the FACE project. Over the past year the school has organised a number of events to raise money to support the building of the new Ekhaya Lothando School (Home of Love) in Masiphumelele, a township in Cape Town.
 
Athena Douglas, teacher at West Lodge, set up the school link with FACE and Ekhaya Lothando School in Maisphumelele and had the idea to run the Reading Half Marathon back in October. Miss Douglas set about gathering the staff/parents team together and inspiring teachers and parents alike to take on the challenge.
 
Since training for the race began back in October a team of teachers and parents could regularly be seen pounding the streets of Pinner on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Overcoming bouts of injury and illness, the team emerged ready to face the challenge on the morning March 2nd.
 
Headteacher, Kim James, who took part in the run said: “It was great to get the school community of teachers and parents together to run for such a good cause. It was difficult on the day, but we rose to the challenge and achieved it – at West Lodge we all have a growth mindset.”
 
The Ekhaya Lothando School opened on February 21st 2014 and two pupils from West Lodge were able to visit and be there on the day. Joshua and Julian Luiz, went to visit family in Cape Town during half term, luckliy there trip coincided with the opening of the school so the brothers were invited as guests of honour to represent West Lodge on the day.
 
Nick Jenkins from FACE said: “Everyone at West Lodge should be very proud of what they have helped to achieve. The new pre school now has three classrooms, and outside play area, a covered play area, and toilets, around the teacher accommodation and kitchen, which is vital as all the children receive a healthy balanced meal each day. The two main teachers Priscilla and Indiana were more thrilled than you can imagine. Indiana was also presented with a new laptop to help with the school administration and FACE is paying for her continued teacher training at a Montessori facility, which she says has opened her eyes to far more advanced education for the children. Our charity partners Masicorp say it is a project they will use as a template to show others what can be achieved.”
WLWhippets run Reading Boys getting involved[1]

The Home of Love is Handed Back to the Community

Back in August 2013 we reported on the building work that began at Ekhaya Lothando pre-school in Masiphumelele. Known locally as the Home of Love the pre-school refurbishment was one of Masicorp’s biggest projects last year. Last Friday the completed pre-school was formally handed back over to the community. As we stood in the summer sun with children playing in their new modern facilities it seemed a million miles away from the mud and rubble that surrounded the old building last winter.  Many thanks are due to everyone who helped take the site from the open ground on the left of the picture below to the impressive classrooms on the right.

Montage

None of this would have been possible without help from the Friends of the African Child Education (FACE) from the UK who raised an incredible £42,000, in a little more than a year to refurbish the building. After numerous fundraising activities, which have been well documented in blogs on these pages, the group finally made it to Cape Town and spent their first few days putting the finishing touches on the building. Once everything was completed the group assembled together with the Masicorp team to hand over the crèche.

Rion & PrisSeen here is the principal, Priscilla, with her daughter and Rion, our man in Masiphumelele, who provides an invaluable link between the community and our volunteer work force. Priscilla was a little overwhelmed with everything but was extremely grateful for all the work that has been done on site. Crucially she is a qualified pre-school teacher and together with the upgraded infrastructure at the school  – including classrooms, fully functioning toilet block, kitchen and food preparation area – the school has nick jenkins2everything in place to meet the core requirements of the DSD [Department of Social Development] registration process. Once registered the pre-school will receive a state subsidy for each child and its sustainable future is assured. Currently only three of the 28 pre-schools in Masiphumelele meet the standard required for registration, which emphasizes just how significant this project has been for Priscilla and the 34 children she looks after. The paperwork and administrative tasks required to get there are now the focus of Masicorp’s activity for the school.

It was finally left to the FACE group to deliver a few speeches of their own and tell the fascinating story of how they came to work together and fund this project. Much revolves around the organisation of Nick Jenkins (seen here), who took the project on as a celebration of a significant birthday. The team have enjoyed a well-earned break in the Wineland’s and Camps Bay and will have enjoyed the warm weather that we are enjoying at the end of the summer. We cannot thank everyone at FACE enough and look forward to staying in touch with them in the future as Ekhaya Lothando goes from strength to strength.

kids & face

The Finishing Touches to Ekhaya Lotando

We have been privileged to host the FACE group from the UK last week as they put the finishing touches to Ekhaya Lotando pre-school in Masiphumelele.

After many months of fund raising in the UK the group arrived in Cape Town ready to grab hold of paint brushes and get to work….. paint2

On the outside…..

 paint4

paint1On the inside…..

 paint3

 And finally getting the classrooms in order.

cupboards In the meantime the rest of the FACE group took the 36 children and three teachers from Ekhaya Lotando on outings to Imhoffs Farm and the Cape Town Science Centre. Here they are on a well-deserved day out.

kid1kid2kid3Everything has run to time (no mean feat here in Africa) and the school was ready for its handover by the end of the week.

PANTO LAUGHS CAP OFF FUN YEAR

An adult panto by members of the FACE team and other friends brought a year of fundraising to the perfect fun end with laughs all round.
“Possibly the Worst Panto Ever” as it was titled was staged by the Gentlemen’s Ale Sampling Society (GASS), a group of friends that includes a number of the FACE crowd among its ranks.
To a packed audience at the Roffen Club, Rochester, on January 7, 2014, the cast of 20 joked, rhymed and sang their way through three loosely linked mini-pantos based on Cinderella,  Aladdin and Snow White. A total of more than £1500 was achieved in the process, which included an extra £130 plus that cast members contributed for panto writer Nick Jenkins to suffer a custard pie attack at the dress rehearsal.
“The whole thing was hysterical. It was as much fun because of the mistakes and bad acting as anything else. Everyone had a real laugh whether in the audience or the cast,” said Del de Lorme, the Director, whose wife Mel was the only lady cast member starring as both Cinderella and Snow White.
“We had everything from the classic panto gags to a Full Monty strip.”
The panto was the last fundraising effort by the main FACE members and brought the total raised in just over a year to more than £42,500.
“That means we have easily beaten our original school build costs of £30,000 and the rest of the money means we can really finish off the project with extra works and facilities, such as equipment and teacher training,” said Nick Jenkins, one of the FACE team. “It is has been an amazing effort by everyone involved and there could not have been a better way to round it off. We always set out to have a lot of fun while we worked to get the money for the Ekhaya Lothando school and this was an ideal finale for the team.”
The whole panto cast line up to take their bow

The whole panto cast line up to take their bow

Panto writer Nick gets a custard pie in the face from the cast at dress rehearsal.

Panto writer Nick gets a custard pie in the face from the cast at dress rehearsal.

Cast in Full swing!

Cast in Full swing!

DERBY DELIGHT

At the Derbyshire Branch of FACE, four (of five) Ladies that Brunch  
held their Christmas get-together on 16 December.  Instead of their  
normal practice of exchanging Christmas gifts they have decided to  
make donations to FACE and a total of £90 was collected.  
As Derby organiser Helen Steele puts it: "Merry Christmas one and all!"

Seen below are four of the Derbyshire fundraisers enjoying coffee  
after their Christmas brunch:

Image

TINS TRIUMPH

Right at the outset of the FACE fundraising campaign some collection tins were bought at the pound shop and having been suitably decorated were handed out for folks to fill with their spare loose change…and after one year those pennies really turned into pounds.
At the December FACE Supper the tins were handed in and more than £500 was tallied up from all the coins (and some notes) they contained.
King of the collectors had to be Tony Mankelow with £289 in the tin he had placed in his jewellery shop in Sheerness. And if he was King then Joy Cockerton was Queen Collector having brought in a steady stream of filled tins from her friendly local garden centre.
Don and Rachael at the December Tin Collection.

Don and Rachael at the December Tin Collection.

A basket stuffed with collection tins and cash.

A basket stuffed with collection tins and cash.