The Santa Shoebox Project’s Legacy arm has established an Early Childhood Development (ECD) and care centre at the Fairfield farm outside Ceres in the Western Cape, expanding the project’s reach #BeyondTheMillion.

The R300,000 Early Childhood Development (ECD) and care centre project comprises of, among other things, the renovation of an existing building on the farm to establish a crèche for 14 children and an aftercare centre for 17 children, training of teachers in the Leer en Leef educational programme and the provision of personal and skills development to parents via workshops in the creche building.

Fairfield is home to more than 20 families who live and work on the farm, with small children being looked after by the elderly while older children go to school in town, with limited supervision or help with homework in the afternoons.

Irené Pieters, founder of the Santa Shoebox Project, said this project will not only benefit children in the farm, but the farm community at large. “Farm workers – and by default their children – have been marginalised for many years. I feel excited for this collaboration, with the inspiring owners, to break that cycle on Fairfield farm as well as in the greater community,” Pieters said.

The Santa Shoebox Project is an organisation that distributes personalised gifts and essential items to underprivileged children across South Africa and Namibia, and has three initiatives under its umbrella – Traditional Santa Shoebox, Virtual Santa Shoebox and Santa Shoebox Legacy.

Among its other contributions to underprivileged communities this year, the Santa Shoebox Legacy has sponsored the creation of reading hubs in 25 ECD centres in the Samora Machel community in Cape Town and offered anti-bullying training for the facility caregivers, who also received training in the Reggio Emilia approach to preschool and primary education.

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