South Africa: since 1994 around 40 Educare Centres (ECD - Early Childhood Development Centres) have opened in the townships of Cape Town. Children are fetched off the streets and given a space where they can be children and where they can experience that there is more to the world than drugs, criminality and violence. The Educare centres are run by the NGO Centre for Creative Education (CfCE), which coordinates the centres and offers training in leading such an Educare Centre. The CfCE, which is also in Cape Town, is also a training centre for future teachers.
She was simply not there any more. The nursery school that she had run had been taken over by other people. What had happened to her, the young women who had so lovingly given the children security and attention? She could tell stories so that one wished they would never end. Where was she? No one knew exactly. Someone said that changes in her work situation had forced her to look for a more secure job.
A few years passed. The CfCE was looking for someone to advise the Educare Centres, but had not yet had any success. During a meeting the phone rang. There was a woman on the line who was looking for a job for the women who had been looking after her children. They agreed to take her on and now we know where the nursery school teacher is, who was so sorely missed. In the various Educare Centres, of course, because she is back again.
The Educare Centres are led by women who were born and grew up in the townships. The Mamas, as they are called, look after the children of the many people who have to leave their shacks early in the morning to work or look for work and only return late at night. Their children often grow up on the streets where they are prey to drugs, criminality and prostitution. The CfCE tries to protect them and so they have the full support of the township community. The Educare Centres, which often start out in corrugated iron shacks, work with the simplest tools and are open for all children. That means that problems such as 9 matresses for 60 children are commonplace, but the Mamas react with creativity instead of resignation.
At the CfCE one can gain a Bachelor of Education Foundation and Intermediate Phase ( a 4 year full time degree or 6 years part time), as well as a ECD Certificate and ECD Diploma and a Bachelor of Eurythmy.
The CfCE cultivates relations to international organizations in a courageous and independent fashion in order to raise funds. This high degree of independent organization at the CfCE is supported by the Friends of Waldorf Education, who send them donations and volunteers.