Ikamva Labantu’s community development centres act as hubs out of which our programmes are co-ordinated and the communities we help can access our services. They’re also places where people can go – environments of safety, comfort and learning – where adults, children and seniors can gather. Today, Ikamva Labantu has 19 community centres, and in the words of our founder, Helen Lieberman, they have all become “places of joy and wonder”.
Within the last 6 months we launched two new centres in Khayelitsha – the Enkululekweni (Place of Freedom) Wellness Centre on Friday 2 December 2011, and the Kwakhanya (Place of Light) Early Childhood Learning Centre on Friday 20 April 2012.
Enkululekweni Wellness Centre
Enkululekweni Wellness Centre, a new concept in community health management, serves as a best practice model for promoting health and wellness in impoverished communities. Enkululekweni forms part of Ikamva Labantu’s community health programme which focuses on empowering communities to embrace preventative health as opposed to struggling with avoidable chronic and acute health problems.
Guests of honour at the opening included Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, Absa Chief Executive Maria Ramos (Ikamva Labantu Board of Protectors), Gaynor Rupert (Chairperson of Ikamva Labantu’s Board of Protectors), Mr Michael Benu (Chair of the Khayelitsha Development Forum), Dr Virginia Azevedo (City Health Manager for Khayelitsha) and local Ward Councillor Mr Patrick Mnqxuyeni.
The Centre is an all-encompassing preventative health care facility, promoting and educating caregivers and their beneficiaries about health-conscious behaviour, disease prevention and the vital role of nutrition, even with limited means. It not only offers much-needed basic health care support, but also the opportunity to impart skills and knowledge that lead to independency and self-sufficiency.
Kwakhanya Early Childhood Learning Centre
In April 2012 we celebrated the opening of the Kwakhanya Early Childhood Learning Centre and we were honoured to have the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Patricia de Lille, deliver the keynote address, along with celebrity radio presenter, Afrika Melane, acting as MC during the festivities.
The Centre reaches out to both teachers and parents through a structured training programme. In this way it offers a holistic and complete development environment for children under the age of six in township communities. This year’s intake of trainee teachers – and the first for the Centre – sees 40 community pre-school teachers enrolled for an accredited teacher training programme with a strong practical approach. Training takes place at the on-site model pre-school made up of six classrooms and catering for different age groups. The pilot phase sees 45 children enrolled at the model pre-school . They have been selected from the foster homes which Ikamva Labantu supports within the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme.
Integrated support for parents and caregivers is offered at the Parent Centre, with programmes geared towards giving parents a platform to better understand their young children and to develop better parenting skills.
The programmes and unique approach at Kwakhanya will help to develop children so that they are mentally, physically and socially ready to cope successfully with schooling.