Annette opens creche for township kids

Annette Fatti in her Meadowridge garden with some of the items donated for the creche.

A Meadowridge woman has been inspired to start a creche in Khayelitsha by her gardener.

Annette Fatti plans to open Siyakha Future Empowerment Early Learning Centre, in Site C, Khayelitsha, in April.

“Siyakha means we build it,” said Ms Fatti, explaining that the idea for the centre was inspired by Warren Foko.

“He has been our gardener since 1997, so we’ve known him for a long time. He went on to become pastor at the Apostolic Faith Mission in Khayelitsha. He urged his congregation to adopt a ‘go back to school’ campaign in order to uplift themselves and the community. Siyakha was registered as a not-for-profit organisation last year and is still very much in the planning phase,” said Ms Fatti.

Mr Foko said he was excited about the opening of the creche, as he believed it was very important for people to have an education and to learn English.

“Many people in the squatter camp want to work but can’t speak English,” said Mr Foko.

The creche will be run from a large informal structure, which doubles as a church at the weekend.

Mr Foko is putting in a new ceiling and tiled floor to make the building more child-friendly.

Ms Fatti has been teaching English at Joe Slovo Engineering High for two years.

She also teaches guidance, drama, remedial education and study skills.

A keen gardener, she volunteers with the Constantia-based Soil for Life .

Ms Fatti said 11 people from Site C had done the Soil for Life 12-week home food gardens programme and were now growing vegetables for themselves, a soup kitchen and the children who will attend a creche.

Cynthia Foko, Mr Foko’s wife; Amanda Folo; Nomthandazo Nyamanye and several other women are running the soup kitchen and getting to know some of the children in the community who are in desperate need of education.

In February, Ms Fatti sent out an appeal for materials, equipment and people’s time to help set up the creche.

She said she was “overwhelmed” by the “amazing response” but she still has a long list of things she needs: camping cots, soft blankets, soft toys, toothbrushes and toothpaste, cloths or small hand towels, nappies, clothing (age zero to six), bowls, cups, spoons, forks, fruit juice, non-perishable snacks, a climbing frame, a plastic slide, tricycles, scooters, wagons, trucks, boats, trains, junior Lego, puzzles, magnifying glasses, science equipment, books for young children, craft paints, glue, drawing paper, coloured paper/cardboard, children’s scissors, stars, beads, sparkles, stickers, glitter, wax crayons and paints, whiteboard markers, dress-up clothes, masks, hats, crazy glasses, disguises, gloves, scarves, shoes, hats/caps, glittery dress-up shoes, handbags, shawls and crowns.

Mr Foko added that they need a bookshelf and a chest of drawers, little tables, stools or chairs and a cupboard or shelves to pack stuff away, and boards to divide the hall.

“The future of the country depends on early education to children born in townships. And I wouldn’t give my time if not for the quality of women I’m working with,” said Ms Fatti.

“I’m really excited about this unique project, as it will transform the lives of many children, and adults, in Khayelitsha. Asking my students who their role model is and expecting them to reply Mandela, imagine my surprise when they said Warren Foko.”

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