Lehlogonolo is an African word meaning ‘blessing’. It is the name adopted by the Educare Centre based in Topanama Village, Limpopo province.
Topanama Village is a very small rural settlement close to Tzaneen and is part of the Mogoboya district.
Lehlogonolo Educare Centre was started by the women of the community in 1992 and was formally registered in August 2005. “The school was established for various reasons aimed at the wellbeing of the village children. It is a place to prepare children for ‘big school’, a place of safety, care, nurturing and learning”, says Alinah Mokhubidu, the schools acting principal.
This non-profit institution is run by 9 staff, which includes two ECD (Early Childhood Development) teachers and three caregivers. The small school made up of 99 children is faced with the challenge of keeping up with the daily expenses. This includes utilities and rent, staff salaries and food for the children who often arrive hungry. Parents are not always able to pay the fees as many are unemployed and live below the breadline. The school receives only a very small stipend from the Department of Social Developments local office, therefore donations and assistance from the outside is desperately needed.