Shine in your own corner:

On 14th May 2019 at 10 am we opened Emmanuel Educare for 50 children and 3 teachers. It was a beautiful end to 7 years of waiting and the beginning of a wonderful new era for Principal Elizabeth and her staff, parents and children. “Emmanuel” meaning “God with us” has been through a testing and sometimes turbulent journey.

We walked into the shiny, newly converted house with gleaming softly painted yellow walls, beautifully set out classrooms, excited teachers and children and a radiant Elizabeth with Victor, her husband. There was an air of joy and anticipation. We gathered in the front room, fellow principals, Margaret Fraser from Home Choice Development Trust, sponsors of the project, the Starting Chance educational team, trustees and friends. The principals burst into song at the top of their voices:

Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light,

Like a little candle burning in the night,

In this world of darkness, we must shine,

You in your small corner, and I in mine.

As I looked around the room I was struck by the truth of these words – these wonderful women were indeed shining in their township and bringing light to the children, parents and teachers of the community at large.

As Principal Elizabeth recalled her memories she said, “I opened my crèche in 2008 because I loved children. I went to an ECD forum meeting at Teacher Sandra’s. Ali was there and she asked for volunteers to join the programme. I put my hand up but I didn’t know what this might mean. I put my hand up in faith.” Through rain, flooded floors, family crises, children leaving due to the bad conditions in the shack crèche, Elizabeth and Victor her husband, held onto this faith. At the end of her speech, there was not a dry eye in the room. Other speeches echoed the journey, the miracle of support from Home Choice Development Trust and the impact the school would have on the community. The children came to sing wonderful songs and to participate in the transition to such a beautiful new learning environment.

It was a joyous occasion where hands were joined, different cultures and backgrounds merged and a common goal of giving our future generations an amazing start on their educational journey was cemented.

Thank you to the HomeChoice Development Trust, and to all the people who made this project a “beautiful build.” Together we can indeed shine in our small way and soon light will overshadow the darkness of poverty.