One of the biggest problems at Qaphelani is space – there is just not enough of it for the 60 children who are currently attending the centre. Owner and manager Elizabeth Ngobese says when the centre was built in 1996, it was to accommodate between 10- 20 children, and its construction was a true community project with households donating R20 and a few bricks each.
In the 22 years since, Qaphelani’s popularity has grown, as has the under-5 population in the surrounding area. The one classroom is being shared by two practitioners, each teaching classes of different age groups – not ideal. Ngobese has wanted to improve her infrastructure for years, but money has never been enough.
Qaphelani is now part of SEIS. It’s circa-1996 classroom (above) will be renovated and divided into a kitchen and office space, while a separate 90 sq mt building is being erected as a teaching space and will be able to accommodate an additional 30 children. “This extra space is good because we always have children on a waiting list and no space for them,” says Ngobese.
The centre’s new structure has been designed to be as cost-effective and useful as possible. The new three classroom design, despite having the same floor size as a two classroom design, is cheaper due to the use of removable partitioning instead of solid block walls. To allow as much natural light as possible, each classroom has a door and five windows.
The two pit toilets (above) will be replaced with four flush toilets – including modified facilities for children and people with disabilities.
Water harvesting tanks with stands will replace the tippy taps (left). A new jungle gym will replace the broken playground on the right.