Shilo Day Care Centre, Balfour, Mpumalanga

Only an hours’ drive from Johannesburg, Balfour is a small gold mining and maize farming town in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The town has an interesting history. It was established in 1898 on farms belonging to Frederick Stuart McHattie. In 1905, the name was changed to Balfour in honour of the Prime Minister of Great Britain (Arthur Balfour) who visited South Africa in that year.

Shilo Day Care Centre is located in the town and is a home-away-from-home for 95 children under the age of seven. Topsy Foundation is our partner supporting the centre and has helped to establish a flourishing vegetable garden – some of which are sold to the community on market day.

Shilo Day Care centre was overcrowded, and would have had to reduce the number of children in its care if it did not secure another classroom. In addition, the Grade R learners also needed their own dedicated space, separate to the younger classes.

With the help of Breadline Africa’s individual donors, their dream of an additional classroom became a reality on Thursday 25 October 2018. The local ECD forum attended in support of their fellow principal, showing solidarity for this new resource in a community that has little to go around.

Meikie Mashinini, a TOPSY Social Auxiliary Worker involved with ECD centres and families in the community thanked Breadline Africa for their contribution to the betterment of the organisation’s ECD centres and the lives of the children in the communities. She emphasized the importance of early childhood care and development and the pivotal role played by ECD centres in promoting the holistic development of children.

She acknowledged the work done by Shilo Day Care Centre in contributing to the development of children in the community of Siyathemba. Meikie asked that practitioners, children, parents and guardians work together to keep the classroom container in good condition and use it to benefit the children.

The principal, Ms Nontuli Tshabalala, expressed her gratitude and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the classroom, which has become a beacon of hope in the location.

The ECD forum celebrated the day in a display of traditional dancing and singing.