September 2020.

Primary schools are open and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres are following suit, provided that standard COVID-19 operating safety measures are adhered to. Considering the strain that this additional cost for PPE will place on ECD centres and schools, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm has funded the manufacture and distribution of 5 000 COVID-19 masks for learners and staff.

The project included the supply of masks to 20 ECD centres and 14 local Primary Schools within the extended Jeffreys Bay communities. Funded by Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, the masks have been made by local NGO, On Eagles Wings Multi-Purpose Centre and handed to children in Pre-Grade R to Grade 4.

Resonating with their efforts to support and protect victims of gender-based violence, each mask has been sewn with the Lifeline’s counselling number, to report violence or child abuse.

“By contracting this local NGO, the project not only helps keep young children safe, but also created short term employment for the members of the organisation as they sewed and packaged the masks,” explained Hlengiwe Radebe, Director of Economic Development for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.

Whilst it is not compulsory for all children at ECD centres to wear masks, the Department of Social Development has given a directive that young children should wear masks, especially where there may be young children with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.

One of the twenty ECD centres that received masks recently, is Noah’s Ark, in Pellsrus, Jeffreys Bay. The playschool takes care of around 140 children between the age of one and six, offering a safe and caring environment as well as two meals a day.

Parents at the ECD Centre expressed their excitement and appreciation when receiving the masks and other PPE as many of the children didn’t have an adequate supply of masks, which require washing.

A team of four women from On Eagles Wings Multi-Purpose Centre sewed the masks at their homes due to COVID regulations, whilst Mercy Cwayi co-ordinated the collection and delivery of the material and other supplies to the team.

“In addition to the masks, many of our team are out in the community, teaching people how to take care not only of themselves but of other people, especially those caring for elderly family members. We continue to share about the importance of sanitizers, washing hands, taking care of masks and social distancing. We hope that our commitment to the community can make a difference over such a time as this,” concluded Cwayi.