On a bright winter day, the children and staff of Norah’s Educare Centre in Benoni, Gauteng, were the grateful recipients of a 12-metre converted shipping container kindly funded by Shell. It has been partitioned into two classrooms for the facility’s Grade R children.
Norah’s Educare Centre started out in 1998 with four children, and now caters for 250, who all receive breakfast, lunch and a snack. Norah also regularly feeds an additional 650 children a day from the surrounding community.
A devastating storm on 9 October 2017 damaged more than 590 houses nearby and destroyed three classrooms and the hall at the centre. Two teachers were at the centre with 21 children when the storm hit. The educators, Busisiwe Makhudu and Marriane Mzaza, said they used their bodies to protect the children‚ including a one-year-old baby. Busisiwe explained that at about 4pm the wind picked up so strongly that they could not keep the door shut. “We tried to close the door with chairs, but it kept swinging,” she added. Marriane said after a few minutes the building was destroyed and all they could think about was whether the children were harmed. Thankfully none were but the next challenge was how to fund the rebuild.
Anton Niemann – Shell Lubricants Manager thanked AutoZone, a long-standing supporter of the centre for introducing Norah’s Educare to Shell and stated how much they value their partnership and involvement with Norah’s. Jean Lindsay, AutoZone HR Manager spoke about how their relationship with the centre has grown over the years and thanked Shell for funding the classrooms and Breadline Africa for delivering a much-needed solution in such a short time.
Marion Wagner, Breadline Africa Director thanked Shell for asking the organisation to be part of this amazing centre. She said that Norah is an inspiration to so many ECD founders and reflects the values of passion, hard work and faith. The October 2017 storm is not the only one Norah has weathered over the years and has come through it all stronger than ever with a centre producing amazing results and shaping so many potential future leaders.