At the end of last year, we saw 40 children graduate from the Caledonia Rose Preschool with a wonderful performance of the Christmas story put on by the children and lots of dancing and celebration.
This year, we have welcomed a further 40 children into our school, giving them the chance to learn and play and receive the love and care that our volunteers can provide. We have seen children embrace this experience and can already recognize the change in these children as they become more confident, loving and so smiley and happy!
We have had the most fantastic donations made to us this year by Sue Janetti and her friends from the Zimbabwe Gecko Society in Canada. For some of our youngest students, this is the first time they have received a new outfit and in and amongst the overwhelming emotions, there were many happy little kiddies going home in fun new outfits.
We carry on feeding our students as well as the 120 other children from the community. We have seen the most amazing changes take place in the physical strength and ability of those who are on our feeding programme. We are excited about the prospect of increasing the number of children on this programme as Zimbabwe is currently in crisis and many of the children in our area do not have access to even one meal a day.
Our ablutions are complete and the volunteers at the centre have been so patient with our children as they have slowly been training them in the use of a flush loo as well as sanitation including washing their hands after they have used the ablutions. The children are getting more confident and are now able to use the loos without the assistance of a volunteer.
Our skills development centre has been painted and we have bought a carpet and are slowly resourcing it with books and other materials. We have been having a most wonderful time meeting with the parents discussing and dealing with issues of parenting whilst also working with them to provide ideas for income generation and getting to know more and more people in the community.
Our focus this year is on the soft side of our programmes. Our volunteers, using their own time and money, have been on various training courses and are learning so much that they can bring back to their classrooms and use to teach their children at a higher standard than ever before. We are so grateful to them for their time and energy that they put into the children and the impact of their work is more and more obvious every day.
One of the ways we have seen the impact of Caledonia Rose is on those children who have graduated and gone on to ‘big school’. We have had numerous visits from many of our graduates and it has been fantastic to hear from them and their parents and the heads of their schools how they are progressing after having left our centre.
We are finishing up the construction of our sports area that will allow the children to carry out their sporting activities in a shaded space, a space where they can run, throw a ball, play and enjoy getting strong and fit. We are excited by this and look forward to seeing it used to the maximum by happy, healthy children!