As 40 children graduated from the Caledonia Rose Preschool at the end of 2016 and we welcome a further 40 into the programme in 2017, it has been an amazing time to look back at the years since we started The Foundations Project and see how far we have come. It has been the most fantastic experience watching our site transform from an overgrown piece of land to an oasis of activity and laughter and we have many people to thank for that.
At the end of last year, all 80 ECD children had a graduation and Christmas party and we had a chance to say goodbye to those that were leaving. Each child received a pair of shoes (school shoes for those going into Grade One and tackies for those joining us at the Caledonia Rose Centre this year) as have nearly all of the children on the feeding programme with less than 15 children to go! Thank you so much to all of you who donated a pair of shoes or money towards shoes. The excitement was palpable at the Christmas party and everyone went home so happy and smart!
We are thrilled that this year, we will be able to bring some greenery to our little oasis in Caledonia thanks to Impact International and Alastair Geddes from the States and to the Nomads Golf Club in Zimbabwe who have donated all the funds towards the drilling of a borehole and the installation of a solar pump on site. The drilling took place at the end of 2016 where we hit water at 23 metres and the installation of the pump has been finalised over the last few weeks. This has allowed our children and our site to quench their thirsts and will allow us to grow a wonderful nutrition garden and to be able to use our flush toilets properly for the first time since they were constructed. We look forward to seeing our fruit trees flourish and our grass grow so that children can run and play and enjoy the shade and safety of their centre.
By the end of 2016, we had finished all our home visits to finalise the introduction of 50 new children onto the feeding programme at the Caledonia Rose Centre. We are now feeding 250 children every day during the term and approximately 170 during the holidays. We are thrilled that we are able to continue the feeding programme during the holidays where others close when children are no longer coming to school. This allows our children the security in knowing that they will definitely get at least one meal per day.
As it has been holidays, the children have been enjoying some time with their friends at home and some of them have travelled. This means that we have not been able to see a great deal of them every day. Our wonderful nurse, Charity, has a big job on her hands this term to make sure that each child is healthy and well and to help us deal with any ailments that may be troubling any of them. She is also doing the most fantastic job teaching our parents how to look after the children including teaching them about basic hygiene and nutrition, to name a few topics. The health programme is our latest addition at the Caledonia Rose Centre and we are excited about the prospect of rolling this and our other programmes out a bit further afield as we move into the expansion phase of our little organization! (Please see https://www.givengain.com/c/foundationsproject/ for our GivenGain campaign to raise money for our health programme).
Along with the idea of expanding our programmes in Caledonia, we are also looking forward to a year of consolidation. Our newly formed board met for the first time in November 2016 to talk about the future of the organization and how we progress. I am so pleased to welcome Philani Nyatsanza, Holly Hudson, Fanuel Nyamayaro, Christine Kahari, Maxwell Rafomoyo, Spiwe Chakawa and Darryn Brider onto the TFP board and am greatly excited by this fantastic team that we have brought together to help us reach the goals that we have set out for the work of TFP. Thank you to all of you for your enthusiasm and your passion for the children and the foundations we hope to provide them with.
As we start 2017 off with a bang, it is with thanks, as always, to a number of people that we are able to continue with the work that we do in Caledonia. It has been so wonderful to start the year knowing that we can feed our children, provide them with teachers to care for them, fresh water to drink and grow food with, a classroom to learn in and a place to play and be safe. Thank you so much to those who have allowed us this privilege this year. Without you, we would not be able to do what we do so thank you especially to Alastair Geddes and Impact International, Nomads Golf Club, Elvis and Marta Gonzalez, The Hand in Hand Foundation Worldwide, and David Ryan. There are of course many others who make our work happen and we thank you all and are so incredibly grateful to be able to share our vision with you.