Events & Activities
Khumbulani Reaches New Heights with First Playground
The five-year-olds file out of the school in an orderly line. In these winter months, they’re dressed in jackets and beanies to keep them warm in their stone-cold classrooms, and when they go outside to play in their brand new playground.
The children of Khumbulani are very quiet as they walk down the stairs under the watchful eyes of their teachers. This class of thirty children, however, goes through a transformation when their feet hit the green turf of the playground. Like penguins entering the water they come alive when they reach the playground, their natural environment.
The order I celebrated moments before disappears like breath on a window. Shrieks of delight and ripples of laughter spread through the elated group as they flock towards the jungle gym. They instantly appear happier, braver and definitely louder.
The playground was funded by the charitable German foundation, The Robert Bosch Stiftung, and was completed just last week. It’s been a busy year for Khumbulani with the building of their new school and their excursions to places like the Two Oceans Aquarium and Monkeyland. This day care centre in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha has come a long way from where it started back in 2000. Back then classes were held in Gloria Bebeza’s 2-bedroom house. Now Khumbulani has 260 learners, all with HIV Aids-infected and -affected backgrounds.
Gloria, Khumbulani’s principal, says, ‘The parents, teachers and children are very, very happy with the playground. The kids love to play outside. It’s very good for their small motor skills and big motor skills. Before we had the playground they used to take a walk around the community, they played on the side of the road. Next to the road. Maybe they ran up and down. Now they are secured and inside the school.’
The benefits of a playground for children is well documented. Part of the appeal is that children get to be around one another. It gets them moving and having fun at the same time. They learn how to take turns and exercise self-control waiting for a swing to open up. Play is the way children learn about themselves and the world. And now Khumbulani’s children can benefit from that experience.
As Gloria says, ‘There is no fighting, we teach them to share. If you share, everything goes well. They wait their turns and they make friends. It’s easy to make friends in the playground. It’s now their favourite thing at the school.’ Science and Gloria’s comments are one thing, but seeing their unbridled glee is enough to know that this is one very welcome gift.
The kids take turns to push each other on the swings and line up for the monkey bars. They climb up the tyres, walk along the beam, go down the slide and then climb up the tires again. You get the impression that they’d do this all day until hunger or sleep intervened. And in the middle of the playground a tree has been planted. The hope is that it will grow tall and strong, as it is for the children, to grant shade and protection in the years to come.
The children of Khumbulani still need more assistance, though. It is freezing cold in winter and the children need blankets and heaters. If you’d like to make a donation, small or big, go to our pledge page and make a difference in the lives of these children. If you’d like to do more or have any questions, please contact our CSR Specialist, Teresa: email@example.com
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