Thembinkosi Day Care Centre

Patricia Vuka
A tribute to the spirit and determination of one woman, Patricia Vuka, Thembinkosi Day Care Centre caters to the needs of about seventy preschool children of whom some are disabled or have special needs. Herself the mother of a disabled child, Patricia started the crèche in her shack in 2000, taking other disabled children into her home and heart. Overcoming serious setbacks, she has moved forward, taking one step at a time (and sometimes taking a few steps back with setbacks such as her own child dying on a scorching hot February day while still operating from the shack or the shack burning down twice in fires that raged through the informal settlement). She secured donations for food and improved her knowledge by taking sponsored 'educare' courses. She finally moved to a house in 2008 and now runs the centre from a railway container at the back of her plot, focusing on school readiness and employing 4 teachers and full-time cook. They also added a corrugated iron classroom in 2010 in order to look after the baby class separately and work together with the department of social services to improve the educational offering to the children.

Future plans
Patricia's vision is to eventually open a 24 hour care facility focused on the many disabled children in the community.

Preschool program
Thembinkosi doesn't just provide a secure ground to play and grow - an equally important function is the preschool educational program, which gives the children the much needed background to start at a primary school later on. It is well established that the most important years of learning for a child is from birth and early development years. The environment in which a young child grows up influences the development of cognitive skills and emotional skills due to the rapid brain growth that occurs in its first years. Thembinkosi starts with the development of every child that comes to the centre. It will be handed a set of competences and will eventually "graduate" from the day care, having acquired the emotional and cognitive skills necessary to take them through school and adolescence.

Gerhard van Deventer (owner of Incanda) has over the past 10 years come to know and respect Patricia Vuka , who continues to overcome many setbacks and a lack of resources to be able to provide a place of care, safety and learning for pre-schoolers with nowhere else to go. Many Incanda clients and friends, especially visitors from overseas, have met Patricia and have also started supporting her centre. Through the larger Incanda community we are now supporting Patricia financially and also in terms of much needed manpower (administration etc) and horsepower (transportation of building materials etc).