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Caring for deprived kids

MAMA Angel’s heart was wrung by the state of a crèche at GaMogale location in Magaliesburg.

The crèche has 39 children in one and a half shack rooms. The classes and ages are all put together. The rooms have cement floors with a bit of carpet and a few home-made diagrams on the wall.

When Mama Angel visited the place children were being taught the national anthem by assistant Tebogo Modise.

The children, whose ages range from a few months to five years, belong to farmworkers who work on the nearby farms.

They are dropped off at the crèche at 6am.

The workers were evicted from farms and lived in shacks until GaMogale built RDP houses for them in the 1990s.

Relebogile Day Care Centre began as a child-minding business, looking after six children, two years ago. The numbers grew when the community heard about the crèche.

Crèche founder and principal Tinah Lekome says some of the children are orphans who are being brought up by their grandparents and other relatives.

“We charge R150 a month with two meals thrown in. But some do not pay since the child grant is needed to feed the families ,” Lekome says.

“We approached the social workers but they would not promise us anything. They said the government had no money and we should raise funds on our own.

“The social workers said there were many demands on their funds, so they were not sure when they would come round to help us.”

The local clinic staff visits the makeshift crèche during health campaigns. Someone also checks if the kitchen and toilets are hygienic.

Lekome has several certificates in child minding and is a nursery school teacher. She worked for more than 10 years at St Martin’s crèche in Boystown. The crèche closed when a new owner bought the farm.

“I decided to work for myself and this apparently solved my neighbours’ problems. I love this work but I need to expand the crèche. Many people want me to take in their children.”

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