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From the CEO:
Road blocks and detours have been prominent features of Mamelodi reality this year. As people tire of unemployment, poor service delivery, lack of housing, and limited access to quality medical care and education, demonstrations set the streets ablaze. Berakah’s teachers often travelled to school or home through protests, and twenty-minute taxi rides turned into two-hour endurance tests. We had to drive long, snaking detours through side streets to avoid delay and danger. Despite the challenges, Berakah’s staff found a way to the centre to continue developing children for a future that’s brighter than the present.
The prize of children thriving amidst their circumstances is worth the cost!
20 years of service and still more!
Berakah celebrated 20 years of service to her community in August 2017. It was wonderful to recall the past and celebrate with many of the people who walked the dusty and, at times, difficult roads with Berakah to become what she is today. With fresh passion for the next 20 years, we are committed to do whatever it takes to educate, nurture, and empower each child, parent, and practitioner to reach their full potential and become a viable part of a vibrant and thriving community.
We want to thank our dedicated staff, board, parents, and generous supporters and partners for being an integral piece of achieving our goal of building excellent foundations under the youngest of our community on which they can build a strong and successful life.
Chandra Noviskie, CEO
Who we are
Vibrant communities where every person thrives
Enhance every child's opportunity to thrive through quality education that nurtures and empowers
Berakah Education Foundation is a nonprofit faith-based organization headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa that works together with township communities to advance quality early childhood education and development.
The story of Berakah (Hebrew meaning “place of blessing”) began in 1993 in the marginalized and disadvantaged township of Mamelodi East. The courageous initiative of Avril Elkington, a white South African woman, to champion the cause of economic, social, and spiritual upliftment resulted in her crossing paths with Nomthandazo Sophie Mashego, a young black South African woman known as the “shebeen queen” (proprietor of a popular bar). Through a series of trust-building and faith-warming interactions, Nomthandazo eventually decided that the lucrative liquor business was not the way for her to influence her community.
Seeing the great need of the multitude of vulnerable children, teenage mothers, and widows walking by her every day, she opened her small home to care for a handful of children of working mothers that had to catch public transport early in the morning to go into “town” and didn’t get home until late at night.
who we are
Quality - We believe every community and child deserves excellence in education services.
Education - We believe in ongoing holistic learning that nurtures and empowers every child, family, practitioner, and community toward their full potential.
Integrity – We believe the chief measure of success is trustworthiness, expressed through accountability, transparency, and responsible stewardship of all resources.
Service - We believe that every person is unique and valuable, so we strive to compassionately understand and serve needs in a safe, nurturing, and enjoyable environment.
Collaboration -We believe that success is built on trusting, respectful, and committed relationships and that life and work are best done together.
In 1997, property was purchased in Lusaka Village to provide for the expansion of services offered for the upliftment of the community. Berakah Education Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit voluntary association organisation (NPO) with the Department of Social Development in 1999. It received its tax-exempt Section 18A public benefit organisation status in 2004.
In 2007, Avril felt it was time to leave Berakah and consequently asked Hatfield Christian Church (HCC) to assume leadership and covering for the developing organisation. The new leadership developed the land further by adding much needed buildings and began a separate organisation with a different community development model in another area. Many of the programmes begun under Avril’s leadership were relocated to the new organisation. Unable to sustain all the remaining programmes, Nomthandazo and the Berakah’s volunteers and staff from the Lusaka community focused their efforts on the early childhood crèche, although they struggled financially and were unaware of the annual compliance requirements to maintain their legal status. Nevertheless, the daycare grew from three children in her home to nearly 150 children on the Lusaka property, attracting clientele from the surrounding informal settlements as well.
Subsequent leadership, together with Berakah’s dedicated team and newly reinstated board of directors, worked to look after the best interests of the children, families, community, and organisation, achieving the reparation of relationships and good standing with the South African Revenue Service and the Department of Social Development. We look forward to the future with renewed commitment to protect and direct the vision, mission, and values of Berakah.
what we do
Berakah believes the first seven years of a child’s life determine his future; therefore, Berakah aims to provide a better start for a better future, specifically for children in vulnerable communities. Berakah purposes to deliver a range of education and intervention services to children, parents, and practitioners to ensure the optimal holistic development of the child.
In 2017, a continued strategic focus was affirmed: To develop a high-quality early childhood education centre of choice that fully prepares every child (age 0-6) to transition into a successful school career and beyond.
- deliver the best early learning opportunities to children from birth to Grade R to ensure school-readiness
- make early childhood interventions available to tackle developmental problems early before they become more difficult or impossible to reverse
- alleviate learning difficulties and gaps that impair a child’s confidence and future success
- support and strengthen individuals, organisations, and communities in delivering quality and effective early childhood development and education services
- provide training and capacity building opportunities for ECD practitioners in struggling communities
Key achievements in 2017-18
Special Programmes & Events