30 Nov 20 News Communities South Africa

New classroom offers learning chances for children with disabilities

Young pupils quickly take to their new surroundings at Vrolike Vinkies Educare centre, provided with funding from Perdekraal East Wind Farm and Breadline Africa

Children with special needs have been settling in to a dedicated classroom that has been built with support from their local wind farm in South Africa’s Western Cape.

Staff at the pre-primary Vrolike Vinkies Educare centre in Ceres welcomed 20 of their youngsters through the doors of the new facility when it opened earlier this month.

The prefab – provided with funds from youth development NGO Breadline Africa and Perdekraal East Wind Farm – was designed around the needs of children with physical disabilities as well as learning difficulties, and features a ramp for wheelchair access.

The Childhood Development Centre will now be able to offer places to some of the 40 children with special needs in the Ceres community who are on its waiting list

Principal Andeline Coetzee told how the additional space would allow her to accept some of 40 children from the surrounding community who are currently waiting for a place at the Early Childhood Development Centre.

She said: “This is a blessing for our school, as children with disabilities are often neglected and cut out of the learning systems. Now they get the opportunity to be educated in a facility that can meet their needs. Although the one classroom is not enough to accommodate all the children on the waiting list, we are very happy.”

Research shows that the correct care and stimulation during the first 1,000 days of life is especially crucial for children with disabilities, who are often overlooked by Early Childhood Development programmes.

Jo-Anne Brown, Mainstream’s Economic Development Manager at Perdekraal East Wind Farm, revealed that further support for Vrolike Vinkies Educare would be confirmed in the new year.

She said: “For many parents of children with disabilities, this formative period is especially challenging, which is due partly to a lack of knowledge about the support available, so we are pleased to help, as no child should be denied access to a proper and caring ECD experience.”

Breadline Africa is a charity dedicated to supporting childhood development across Southern Africa through the provision of early education initiatives and infrastructure.

  • The 110MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm was developed and constructed by Mainstream for our Africa joint venture, Lekela Power. Now operated by Mainstream Asset Management South Africa for a 20-year REIPPP contract period, it began feeding the national grid in October 2020, generating 368,800 MWh of clean power each year – enough to meet the annual needs of 111,118 averaged-sized households.