Please pledge to help – we’re building a daycare center!

22 Mar

vikelani – (Zulu) protect

abantwana – (Zulu) children

crèche – (British English usage) a nursery where babies and young children are cared for during the working day.

The village I live and work in is in need of a daycare center (or “crèche” in the local vernacular). If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that this community is poor and lacks many resources. In order to earn money, most of the people living here have to travel to the nearest town (or further) for employment opportunities. If they have children 4 years and under, they often have to leave their kids with other family members or neighbors. (Children 5 years and above are generally in school Monday through Friday throughout most of the year.) The parents with children from 0-4 years have few other options as there is no formal organization currently filling this need for this area.

A local group named Vikelani Abantwana Crèche has been developed to fill this need. Spearheaded by Lettie, a resident of the village, home-care worker, wife and mother of two, this South African non-profit organization has been formally organized with a constitution and board of directors made up entirely of residents of this village. They have secured land in an easily accessible, central location of the village to construct the 100 square-meter building from blueprints that were finalized this past February.

But as of now they require start-up funds for building materials and contractors; this is where I ask you to pledge your help. I am in the process of finalizing an application that will allow individuals and businesses in the USA to make a tax-deductible donation to the Peace Corps Partnership Program to help fund this project. The estimated total needed from the US donations is about $7,000 USD.

All I need right now is a general idea of the amount of support I can get for this project. This is on the pricey end of the spectrum for projects that derive their funds through this program, and I want to make sure I have enough support before I launch it. If you think you can contribute, please send me an email at (or private message on Facebook, including your preferred email address for correspondence) with the amount that you think you can donate. This will give me a ballpark figure of how much money can be raised from my friends, family and loyal blog readers AND I’ll have your preferred contact info for your official donation.

If you don’t know if – or how much – you can contribute, but want to be kept in the loop, please go ahead and let me know that, too.

Also, if anyone out there has other ideas for raising funds for this project in the USA (like church bake sales, office softball tournaments, dance parties, rock n’ roll festivals, dunking booths, etc.), let me know! I’ll feature your fundraising work on this blog and I’ll post some personalized videos of thanks to you directly from the folks you are helping.

And of course, don’t forget about good-old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising. Tell a friend; click the appropriate icons below to share this link on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I expect to have the official link to fund my project from the Peace Corps Partnership Program within the next month or so. This will be the webpage where you can go to contribute directly and get your donation receipt for tax purposes. If you send me an email now pledging your support of this project, when the webpage is ready, you should get an official notification from Peace Corps about the program. (I’ll probably send you a reminder, too.)

There are local families already eager to enroll their children; childcare workers (certified and trained from another non-profit organization in a near-by town) are interested in employment and volunteer opportunities. The biggest obstacle to furthering this community-driven project is funding the construction of the facility. We hope to accomplish this task with the fulfillment of this proposed Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP) grant.

More on the Peace Corps Partnership Program from the PCPP handbook:

The Peace Corps Partnership Program (or PCPP) connects small, community-initiated projects with partners in the United States for financial support. These connections not only achieve goals in the host community, improving the quality of life for its members, but they also foster international understanding between the communities and U.S. Partners.

Since its inception in 1964, the Partnership Program has helped thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers in countries all over the world, addressing needs that benefit the health and well-being of communities abroad. While the Partnership Program does not directly fund projects, it serves as a link to groups, foundations, service organizations, and individuals wanting to contribute to the valuable work Volunteers do with their host communities. The Partnership Program is also the venue for host communities to convey their needs to potential donors in the United States. Finally, the program attracts Americans who share a concern for grassroots development. By establishing a link between Americans and communities overseas, the Partnership Program facilitates an understanding among different cultures and the opportunity for cross-cultural exchange.

Volunteers are invited to submit proposals to the Partnership Program to obtain financial assistance in support of community projects. By assisting community members in the application process, Volunteers become active players in promoting people-to-people assistance.

How did I get involved with Vikelani Abantwana Crèche?
The members of the board of directors for Vikelani Abantwana Crèche have driven this project 100% (especially Lettie) since its inception. The community’s need was identified, the organization was formed, and all of the progress in development was at the organization’s direction. Specifically, this includes registering with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development (pending processing), securing the land for building, and obtaining blueprints for construction. Contacting me for ideas about funding the construction was their first time looking outside of the community for assistance.

What Vikelani Abantwana Crèche aims to do in the long-term:

  • Protect the interests and promote the wellbeing of local children, including early education, proper nutrition, physical and socio-emotional needs.
  • Provide for parents/guardians of children in the community needing these services for the purposes of their own employment, especially considering the large number of young, single mothers.
  • Provide an environment for school-aged children to come after school for studying and completing homework.
  • Accept qualified volunteers from the community to aid teachers and caregivers, enabling them to use their experience working at the crèche for future employment opportunities for themselves.
  • Sustain itself through a small monthly fee from each child enrolled in the crèche’s care and assistance from the South African Department of Social Development.
  • Give back to the community with special considerations made for children of especially low-income families on an individual basis.

The facility built as a result of this project will enable the physical establishment of an organization that already has created a figurative “foundation” for their NPO all on their own.

Your help is appreciated! Email me now to pledge your support!

Get more info on the Peace Corps Partnership Program …


Posted by on 22 March 2014 in Community, Fund Raising


6 responses to “Please pledge to help – we’re building a daycare center!

  1. Sara

    22 March 2014 at 8:13 PM

    Yay!!! I’m so happy to hear this project is moving forward!
    I’ll have to plan an event with a dunking booth—Dan can’t wait!


    • Erik Hendel

      22 March 2014 at 9:27 PM

      Ok! Fantastic! How much do you think we can get for that? How many times is he willing to be dunked? 😉


  2. Erik Hendel

    14 August 2014 at 9:35 AM

    I am thrilled to report that all of the money for the Vikelani Abantwana Crèche construction project has been raised! I will update this website with progress on the building and the organization that will operate it in the coming weeks. For now I just want to reiterate how grateful I am for everyone who donated their money, their time and their talents to making this possible, especially friends and family in Youngstown, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona.



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