Cape Town - The sudden closure of the only crèche in Woodstock has inspired local stage star Loukmaan Adams and his wife Shaakirah to broaden their horizons and add “education” to their resume.
The couple have opened a crèche called Happy Gifts Educare at 80 Roodebloom Road, along with investors Laeeka and Haroun Branquet.
“Just weeks ago, my wife and I were approached to assist in establishing a much-needed children's institution,” said Loukmaan.
“With an existing school closing its doors, our community was left stranded, with nowhere for kids to go while parents worked. Teachers were also left unpaid, adding to the hardship. As parents ourselves, we knew we had to step in.
“Now, under the Unity Foundation, we’re working tirelessly to build a better tomorrow for our youth. We’re thrilled to announce the opening of a community educare centre called Happy Gifts Educare, catering to kids from foundation phase to grade R.”
Shaakirah adds: “My kids, aged 3 and 4, and attended the school which closed so we too were affected. I attended this school when I was a child, about 20 years ago.
“The teachers who were dismissed were all my teachers. The school had good academic records and we wanted to continue with this.
“Loukmaan and I spoke to the teachers, we had a meeting and then decided to take over, along with another couple who invested with us.”
Shaakirah says she approached the owner of a vacant building.
“Caroline Fusch used to have a French nursery school on the same premises and she closed down because of Covid and because ECDs (early childhood development centres) are so close to her heart, she would not lease the property out and talk unless it was for an ECD.
“When we spoke to her, she was pretty emotional and she was more than happy to lease the premises to us.”
Amanda Manuel, also known as “Teacher Mandy”, who has been with the crèche for 30 years, has been appointed as the new principal and said she was grateful to be given a second chance.
“The fruits of my labour over the past 33 years are clearly evident in the overwhelming response from my past pupils, who displayed so much confidence in me – first to employ me, and secondly to entrust me with the responsibility of nurturing their children.
“This has been my passion and now we look forward to a new vision.”
Loukmaan has appealed for donations for their 35 learners.
“We officially opened the educare centre last week and we're reaching out for your support.
“If you’d like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out to principal Mandy on 073 476 1565. Your support will change countless lives.”