Rainbow Kidz

 

 

Rainbow Kidz is a pre-school in one of the communities on the outskirts of Grahamstown – our aim is to turn the 30 toddlers attending, together with their families, into Change Agents. The pre-school prepares the children for entry into a local primary school as we work with families to ensure key developmental needs are met.  Many partners, from Grahamstown and abroad, work together to provide these opportunities – including students volunteering to provide extra lessons for children.

The Oasis team in Grahamstown has been working hard to expand our activities to also include the development of young people through partnerships with existing initiatives. As part of this work, Oasis arranges regular meetings of the Grahamstown Youth Movement, consisting of youth organisations and church groups, to work together to empower young people from the community.

Oasis is in the process of planning other youth and community initiatives, while also working to achieve the original dream of establishing a community centre around the pre-school.

A photographer from the UK,  Becky Welford, recently visited Rainbow Kidz and took some amazing photographs – visit her site to view.

You can also visit a Google Album with some videos and photos from the past year by clicking here.

Luke & Jenny Wilkonson, also from the UK, visited us in August 2014 with a view of joining our team in the future. The photos below was taken by Jenny.

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It’s September 1968 in Eastern Cape province, South Africa and a 19-year old English girl takes off her dusty shoes and lets the icy-cold Atlantic lap gently over her tired feet. She takes a moment to drink in the physical beauty of her surroundings, but is quickly reminded of the repression and inequalities that divide the vast country. Mary Khan, who now lives in Wordsworth Avenue, South Woodford, had left her London home to work in a nursery in Grahamstown. The school was part of the Bethlehem Home, a project run by The Anglican Sisters of the Community of the Resurrection (CR), to give abandoned and orphaned children a better start in life. Mary Khan loved working with the children and was inspired by their enthusiasm and happiness, despite the deprivations many had experienced and the stark reality of the inequalities which divided South Africa. She said: “We had taken the children for a day by the sea but this was the apartheid era and the beaches were reserved for white people only. I was only young, and knew little of the apartheid system, but right away felt strongly, that it wasn’t right.” Mary Khan left Grahamstown after ten months of life-changing work, only returning by chance 35 years later on the way to a friend´s wedding. She returned to the scene of her experiences as a teenager and saw black children facing similar disadvantages to those decades earlier. Mary Khan, a grandmother of six, decided to help build a better future for the youngsters by helping to fund the construction of a new school. Mary, along with husband Paul and fellow campaigner Peter Koukoulis, set about organising countless charity events to earn the cash needed to complete the project. The Rainbow Kidz charity was born.

It was decided by the Trustees that we should buy the property and convert it into a pre-school in the interim, whilst our main goal was still in the process of being realised. We were able to do this with help from the friends of Rainbow Kidz – our sponsors. We wanted to get the children into the new pre-school with proper facilities. On April 16th 2007, Mary (Patron of Rainbow Kidz) visited Grahamstown to officially open the school. It was a very special event with over one hundred township people attending, the Town Mayor´s representative, the Bishop’s representative and the town´s Chief planning officer to name a few. Select Education UK also sent a representative to present us with a generous cheque! The school now has two large classrooms with proper facilities.

Rainbow Kidz was officially welcomed into the Oasis South Africa family in March 2012. The trustees of Rainbow Kidz and Oasis agreed that this will be the best way fulfill the original vision of developing an exciting community development project in the heart of one of Grahamstown’s most disadvantaged communities.

Our team in Grahamstown is made up of two pre-school teachers, Jenny and Betty, as well as Veronica, who manages the pre-school and is responsible for further developing the work of Oasis in the community.