Daycare toddlers treated to early Christmas party
Festive cheer came early to Lawley, south of Johannesburg, when Ekukhanyeni, a non-government organisation, threw a Christmas party for 300 children last week.
Father Christmas entertained and granted the wishes of children from the Emfundisweni, Rabeh, Faith Day, Ikwezi, Stardom, Thokozani, Cabukani and Happy Kids daycare centres at the Rise and Be Healed Ministries church.
The centres fall under Ekukhanyeni's Zimisele creche programme, which supports impoverished communities.
For the past two years the Ekukhanyeni relief project has worked for the upliftment, empowerment and health education of vulnerable young children and adults.
Sowetan's fairy godmother, Mama Angel provided the sweets, the Christmas tree, decorations and Father Christmas's red suit.
Giggles could be heard from nearby streets as the children played on jumping castles, had their faces painted and were enthralled by a clown's silly antics.
The children tucked into hotdogs, sherbet, fruit juice, crisps and sweets in the church hall while eagerly waiting for permission to open their presents, nestled under the brightly decorated Christmas tree.
"This could be the most beautiful day in some of these children's lives. Some of them are ill and have lost their parents," Ekukhanyeni director Khulu Mbatha said.
The party brought hope and relief to the community, which does not have basic services such as running water, sanitation and electricity.
"This party could be a sign of better things to come. I am proud of what Ekukhanyeni has done. They were the only organisation willing to help us," Pastor Thokozani Msomi said.
EKUKHANYENI STILL NEEDS
l Outdoor recreational facilities, such as swings, jungle gyms, seesaws and sandpits
lFencing and paving
l Educational posters and toys
lTables and chairs for the tots
l Lockable cupboards