Despite the stuttering South African economy, we are thrilled to report that our campaigning is helping us move towards raising sufficient funds to start the construction of the Lonwabo Special Care Day Centre.

Our first campaign kicked off here in Cape Town with the “Round the World Challenge”, which was launched in September by Christiaan Greyling accompanied by family and friends when he summited 7 peaks in 7 days in the mountains around the Mother City.

The 7 Summits event was joined by Lonwabo and the early childhood centres supported by Starting Chance in Mfuleni. Principals and teachers at each centre designed and ran an event for children – these were the first inclusive educational events held in Mfuleni. We witnessed children speaking for the first time as well as some walking unaided. Tears were shed and many hearts were opened to the possibility that contrary to common belief, children with special needs can be included and most importantly, they can learn, sing and play with other children.

Final approval for the disposal of the land we need to build the new Lonwabo Centre was approved by the City of Cape Town Council at the end of November 2019. Transfer of ownership can now proceed, and we expect to be requested to pay the $4 500 deposit shortly.

The design team visited a number of care facilities in the last quarter of 2019, as Marc Bolsterli of Cape-Town based Gapp Architects prepared to move ahead with detailed design for planning approval. Working with RICTS, our construction partner for the project, the team has upgraded the construction approach to meet the more demanding fire requirements of the City’s planning department. Although this has impacted the cost, the added durability and lifespan means that the Lonwabo facility will serve the Mfuleni, and neigbouring communities, for many years to come, increasing the impact of the investment.

In February, Starting Chance will commence a training and development programme specifically designed by local care specialists for the Lonwabo team. This will be an important enabler in facilitating the move in to the new centre when it is completed. It will also mark the start of a new chapter in Principal Thandeka Mafila’s journey towards realising her dream to run a purpose-built centre serving the needs of children requiring specialised help.

GlobalGiving is playing a vital role in enabling people from all over the world to participate in the challenege.
If you are receiving this report, then you already have made a difference – but the challenge isn’t over yet!

Buiding to the newly required fire specification means that we still have some way to go to bring this dream home and make it a reality. Please continue to support us and wherever possible let your friends and colleagues know that they can make a real difference by supporting this project on GlobalGiving, no matter how big or small the contribution, they will be helping Thandeka reach a finish line she never thought would be possible!

So why not, help us get 2020 off to a great start!