What We Do

The Melkbos Care Centre is a registered non-profit care facility for children. The Centre is not government funded or subsidised and relies solely on the donations of individuals, companies and organisations to provide the care to these underprivileged children. We are a registered NPO, with PBO status and we are also registered with the Dept. of Social Services. We provide our services to orphaned and underprivileged children, many of whom live in homes affected by HIV Aids and substance abuse.

Our services are a life line to many of the children who attend the Centre, whose parents/guardians are unable or unwilling to provide for the needs of their children.

We start off our day bright and early at 06:30 am with the first of many trips in the Melkbos Care Centre Bus Sponsored by The Margaret Pickardt Trust
and Dankie, Lottoland – we transport 104 children to and from the various schools in Melkbosstrand.

With the high illiteracy rate among the parents of the children we assist, many of whom are unemployed and are substance abusers, it is up to us to ensure the children are motivated to attend school and have the necessary resources available to them to partake in school and achieve their dreams.

Our Current Projects:

Get to school safe

This has been a core service we provide to the impoverished children in our community. We currently transport 104 children to and from school each day who would otherwise be left to brave the harsh winter weather and face the dangers of the road all by themselves.

Stay in school project

Prior to the establishment of The Melkbos Care Centre the children attended a farm school where the level of education was of a very poor standard. One of our learners aged twelve (12) years could barely read or write and the others were in similar circumstances. Their school attendance was inconsistent and there was little motivation to complete their school years. One learner aged nine (9) years had never been to school before. Since the inception of The Melkbos Care Centre in 2005, we have successfully enrolled more than 180 plus children into local schools offering a higher standard of education. We believe a good education is a crucial building block in the growth of an able and ambitious young adult.

Early Childhood Development Project

Since 2005 we have successfully enrolled more than 48 learners into pre-schools. Due to the high cost of pre-school education in South Africa these children would not have had access to pre-school education without the assistance of The Melkbos Care Centre. Pre-school education is of utmost importance for these children as they lack the basic skills such as being able to differentiate between colours, how to hold a pencil and the ability to build puzzles. Without these basic concepts and skills they are at a distinct disadvantage when they enter Grade 1. They are left far behind their peers often causing them to repeat Grade 1, which negatively affects their self-confidence.

In 2018 we established our own preschool facility with 6 permanent staff members accommodating 60 children between the ages of 3 and 6. We follow an established curriculum that is underwritten by the WCED and therefore our children have a better chance to be on the same level as their piers when entering primary school. Since 2022 we accommodate 68 children and 7 staff members.

Services since Covid-19

We provide our services to orphaned and underprivileged children, many of whom live in homes affected by HIV Aids and substance abuse. Our services are a lifeline to many of the children who attend the Centre, whose parents/guardians are unable or unwilling to provide for the needs of their children.

  • Enrol children in our community into a good school
  • Provision of breakfast and snacks to children attending the local schools to ± 100 children per day (volunteers)
  • Providing lunch to ± 50 children who attend the homework centre, per day
  • Providing transport to and from school, sport events and outings to ± 100 children per day – two drivers with PDP Divers licenses
  • Providing school clothes to children enrolling in the feeding schemes and homework centre as needed
  • Providing support to 14 full time high school learners at the local high school
  • Providing early education to ± 60 children between the ages of 3 years to 6 years daily from Monday to Friday in our pre-school named “Zumpi Dumpi Speelskool” established in 2018.  Six teachers in total – one sponsored school outing to the Aquarium per year – breakfast and a healthy cooked meal
  • Provide stationery/uniform/suitcases and shoes for Grade 1
  • Providing homework support to children attending the schools in Melkbosstrand who are registered with The Melkbos Care Centre – Tina Cowley supporting 10 of our Grade one and Grade two students
  • Supporting tertiary students through sponsorship procurement and pocket money for life essentials and food
  • Eye tests and glasses for Grade R learners in preparation for Grade 1 through Local Volunteer Optometrists
  • Volunteer speech therapist
  • A local General Practitioner assists our children free of charge
  • The Melkbos Care Centre is managed by one Administration Manager

Impact of Covid-19

The Melkbos Care Centre provided care and schooling to about 60 Pre-School children before Lockdown. Due to the Pandemic we were only allowed to bring our Grade R class back to school for Social Distancing requirements and rules.

Due to space and social distance requirements we have been unable to provide homework support. Due to Covid-19 the Tina Cowley reading support program and the services of the Speech Therapist has also been put on hold.

We provided meals to Primary School children after school. They had the safety of The Melkbos Care Centre to do their homework and study for tests and exams with support available. Our children come from challenging circumstances and parents have the minimum means to contribute towards their education and care.

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic we are not allowed to feed children at the Primary School, therefore we have established two soup kitchens in the community to provide for the needs of our children.

The Melkbos Care Centre provide the essentials required, food and equipment, to the Soup Kitchens to feed ±100 children.  This has ensured that breakfast, sandwiches for school and a cooked lunch is being provided. We are still able to transport these children to and from school.

Here we are working very close with members of the community and most of the cooks are parents of the children who are registered with the Melkbos Care Centre.

Funding

Our income is generated through donations and sponsorships as well as by our second-hand Charity Shop – Gently Loved – managed by three full time employees and volunteers. The Charity Shop has been closed during Lockdown which added to our loss of income. Our “sponsor-an-education”-project brings in some of the much-needed funding but most of our funds need to be raised by fundraising projects.

We believe that with just a little help our Care Centre children can rise above their circumstances. The help that we receive from our sponsors and donors goes a long way to ensuring our children succeed through positive development. The Melkbos Care Centre submits Annual Financial Statements signed off by an Accountant and is registered as a Public Benefit Organization.  This enables us to supply all donors with an 18A tax certificate for submission with their annual tax returns.  We have a bookkeeper to ensure our financial record keeping is unquestionable.

Testimonial

“My name is Veneshley Samuels and I am a PhD fellow at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the Faculty of Health Sciences, specializing in infectious diseases. I am writing this testimonial to show my gratitude and appreciation to Mrs Karen Dreyer, and everyone involved at the Melkbos Care Centre. As a young aspiring South African woman from a disadvantaged background, I faced the challenges of not having my everyday basic needs, which included not having food, toiletries etc. The Melkbos Care Centre has supported me during my journey by giving me a monthly fee which makes it possible for me to live and study without having the concern of my financial background. I am truly thankful for the support, not just financially, but also physically, emotionally, and spiritually because it has also played such an important role in moulding me into the woman I am becoming. As I moved from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) to the University of Cape Town, due to a great academic offer, my concern despite being offered a bursary, was accommodation. The Care Centre sponsored my accommodation fees ever since and up until today, they have been supporting me through my studies. This sponsorship enables me to fulfil my dream as a young woman driven by the desire to develop tools that can be used to combat infectious diseases endemic in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Since the inception of the Stay In School project, we have had 14 learners complete GR.12.