On Friday 30 October 2009 the new Play Centre at Woza Moya Project was officially opened. It was built from February to Sept 2009 with funds raised by Gavin Harrison and supporters in Hawaii; and Patricia Schafer of Mothering Across Continents based in Charlotte USA. Their commitment and generosity in funding this building is greatly appreciated by Woza Moya and the community it serves.
It was a bitterly cold day and the roads were muddy, but nothing could dampen the celebration attended by local dignitaries including the Chief of Ufafa, the care-worker team, special guests and children from the Chibini valley. The guest of honor was Mrs. Nondabulo, the Office Manager from Dept of Social Development, Ixopo. She praised Woza Moya for its continued efforts as an HIV and AIDS community care and support programme and urged the community to make good use of this new facility.
This was echoed by other speakers who included Nkosi Ddlovu, and Ms Mbona from Headstart Pre-Primary School. The Play Centre Manager, Helen Hancock, highlighted the benefits of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and pledged to make the Centre a place of joy and learning. She will be assisted by Linda Stone in training local staff to manage and run the centre. There was also a short presentation by Ramila Fakir of the Children's Rights Centre on 'the child's right to play'. All the Woza Moya care workers came from far and wide as well as many supporters and volunteers involved in the project.
Clowns Without Borders, who have been partnering with Woza Moya for some time offering psycho-social support through clowning, provided entertainment. Local children who have formed the Chibini Circus showed off their newfound confidence in juggling and acrobatics, and the Indlamu dance group from the local Sinevuso school also thrilled the crowd with their rhythmic moves! The proceedings ended with a song and prayer followed by lunch.
The Play Centre will cater for pre-school children, with the possibility of introducing an after school facility in the future. It is also envisaged to introduce an outreach programme in the future where care-workers are equipped and trained to take play to more remote parts of the community. For now it was enough to see the joy in the face of a little boy struggling to jump over tyres planted in a row in the playground, a tiny girl with sad tired eyes forgetting herself for the moment clapping and dancing with the clowns..