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Making ECD Dreams Come True

Bukelwa always dreamed of opening her own ECD facility. In 2022, she found the courage to leave the preschool that she was working at in town. She took a leap of faith and opened the doors of her home to children within her community. This step took immense courage, but she knew that she had KET’s support. She also had a clear plan through the SmartStart programme, which was introduced to KET thanks to a Rotary International Global Grant.


Bukelwa was one of the first practitioners to become a SmartStart franchisee under KET’s supervision. She followed the process, attending the five-day start up training; undergoing site checks; performance quality assurance assessments and other requirements on her way to becoming a franchisee. Once her training was complete, she received a SmartStart start-up kit including safety essentials like a fire extinguisher, dustbins and first aid kit. She also received toys and learning resources to fill her classroom with. 


Perched on the top a hill in Concordia, with the most beautiful view of Knysna, she called her preschool Entabeni (meaning mountain) Nursery and Preschool. She started with five children, and her facility quickly grew to accommodate fourty by the end of the year.

By 2022, Bukelwa’s preschool had not yet achieved government registration, but she showed determination and resourcefulness, so she was placed on Knysna Education Trust’s Adopt a Child’s Education (ACE) programme. Through the programme, individual donors sponsor children’s preschool fees in the case that parents are struggling to pay their fees. 

The Entrance to Entabeni Nursery and Preschool

In a community like Bukelwa’s, she can’t ask for very high fees. Parents pay R300-R400 per month. This means that even if parents do pay their fees, it is still a struggle to provide quality learning resources; maintain the building; pay teachers and buy food for the children. With support from ACE, some of her financial pressure was alleviated. This has led to her building a new kitchen in the facility, allowing her to provide healthy meals for the children.


She also received some help from BNV; a building company who built a wall for the school and provided synthetic grass for the children’s outside play area. This is a great example of businesses supporting their local community.


In the future, Bukelwa would love to grow from two classrooms to four. She can see herself registering as an after-care facility and dreams of studying for a Bachelor of Education Degree. She is currently working with our registration team, so that she can have all the paperwork in place to register her facility with the Department of Basic Education. Once she is registered, she will be able to apply for funding.


With no government subsidy in the beginning of their journey, many ECD facilities like Bukelwa’s rely on KET’s support to get their preschool up and running. 

One of the classrooms in the preschool
The preschool's newly installed kitchen