Diepsloot is a township in the north of Johannesburg and is home to about 150,000 people; many of whom live in 3m-by-2m shacks assembled from scrap metal, wood, plastic and cardboard. Some families lack access to basic services such as running water, sewage and rubbish removal.
Situated in the heart of Diepsloot Ext 12, Philile Diepsloot opened in March 2010 with 40 children. In July 2011 we were able to expand the site to cater for up to 100 children. The school provides daily meals, quality education and a safe environment.
Philile has recruited 5 members or the community as teachers and has sponsored their formal training as part of a teacher empowerment programme. The preschool also provides employment for a cook and a cleaner.
Philile Diepsloot is based in refurbished shipping containers offering 5 classrooms, toilets, a kitchen and storeroom. Ample lawn for play and a jungle gym create a fantastic pre-school environment. A vegetable garden on-site helps to provide the daily meals.
We are thrilled to share our Diesploot site with Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre (WHWC) who run numerous social welfare programmes in the community. A mobile clinic runs from the site twice a week offering very necessary and high demand medical provision.
We held our first community fun day at the end of March 2012 when we opened our site on a Saturday morning for anyone in the area to come and enjoy crafts, games, sports, face painting, a bouncy castle and even a visit from Barney! Our Diepsloot site is becoming a real hub of community.
Violet loves working for Philile because of her love for children. “Working here has really changed my life, because now I can put pap-en-vleis on the table. And it’s changed for my children’s lives too. I am able to send my kids to school. My son is in college now, at Damelin, and I’m paying for that with my salary”. Violet oversees the site in Diepsloot. She completed the Play With A Purpose training in 2010 and is in the process of completing the child-care course, giving her the knowledge and skills that she needs to be a successful preschool teacher.
“My name is Agnes Mere and I stay in Diepsloot, extension 12. Before Philile, there were many children suffering here in Diepsloot. THIS place is our dream; trees, green lawn, happy children. I am so happy that Philile exists. It took a long time to find this place. And now I’m a teacher at Philile, I have a first aid certificate, I have a teaching certificate; I want to learn more and I want to give the children better education.”
Agnes completed the Play-With-A-Purpose training in 2010 and is completing the child-care course currently.
Annah joined the Philile team in 2011 and completed the Play-With-A – Purpose training.
Annah’s dry sense of humour keeps the team smiling and giggling.
Irene completed the Play-With-A – Purpose training in 2011 and has gone on to teach a class of her own. Irene is always full of energy and loves singing, dancing and reading stories to the children.
Rebecca joined Philile in 2011 whilst in the process of completing the Play-With-A-Purpose training.
Rebecca is passionate about seeing the children in her community get the best start to life possible. She loves organising outdoor games for the children.
“Every day we are happy” Priscilla is the school chef and her role is to make sure the children are happy and fed during their time at school. She prepares a hot breakfast as well as lunch in the afternoon.
She also prepares a snack for the children in between meals. Pricilla can cook for up to 100 children at a time.
Elizabeth is a Mum to two children and helps care for her three grandchildren.
“I enjoy working here. My job is as a cleaner, I clean the classrooms, the toilets, and wash the dishes, and sometimes I help in the garden. I also play with the children, I enjoy the children. I’ve been working here from the beginning.”