Rotary clubs to the rescue of rural crèche The project idea came about in 2014 when Rotarian Arthur Gray drove past the crèche and saw the young children using a plastic makeshift toilet in full view of the public.

Rotarians at work: (back) Leon Willemse, Louis and Mari van Zyl, Zanele Ntubane (Principal), Mari Chrystal, Iris and Chris Valentine; (front) John McFarlane and Terry Chrystal. Photo: Tamlyn Jolly
Rotarians at work: (back) Leon Willemse, Louis and Mari van Zyl, Zanele Ntubane (Principal), Mari Chrystal, Iris and Chris Valentine; (front) John McFarlane and Terry Chrystal. Photo: Tamlyn Jolly

Not only brand new ablution facilities, but dignity was given to the 77 children of Sekusilezulu Crèche in Mzingazi when the Rotary Club of Richards Bay (South Africa, District 9370) chose to fund the building of a toilet block.

The idea for the project came about in 2014 when Rotarian Arthur Gray drove past the crèche and saw the young children using a plastic makeshift toilet in full view of the road and bus stop.

“We had to do something to give these children dignity,” said Rotarian Leon Willemse.

A visit from the Rotary Club of San Diego sparked the involvement of Rotary clubs worldwide, leading to funding from Rotary International, the Rotary Local District Designated Fund (RSA), Rotary Clubs of Richards Bay, Mission Valley (San Diego, USA), Samford Valley (Australia), San Diego Coastal (USA) and Ensight Energy Solutions.

The Rotary Foundation (TRF) commits to matching every dollar raised by a Rotary club for a specific project, and for this project, the grand total raised, including TRF’s portion, was $64,000.

Local building contractor Nthokoza Majola of Zamani Builders undertook the building work.

As part of the project, the premises was electrified, a water tank installed and all plumbing for the ablution block done.

This involved much hard work from the Rotarians themselves, most notably Chris Valentine, Terry Chrystal and Willie van den Heever.

“I feel like crying,” said crèche Principal Zanele Ntubane at Wednesday’s official opening of the ablution facility.

“My dream was to find a safe environment for these children and now, for the first time since we opened our doors in 1991, the children can use the toilet in privacy.”

“We will be sure to look after the facilities and keep them in immaculate condition.”

On behalf of the local iNduna, Councillor Paradise Jali, who runs the Nawe Zifunze Disabled Association, said he appreciates what Rotary has done.

“If the atmosphere around you is good, positivity influences your mind, and this good deed will reflect in these children’s lives.”

Source: Zululand Observer

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