PORT ELIZABETH - IN between hosting two international IRONMAN events in Port Elizabeth this year, a legacy project - comprising an entire creche building - was built in Walmer Township in the space of just four months.
Shortly after the IRONMAN African Championship and Isuzu Corporate Triathlon Challenge were hosted in April 2018, the IRONMAN 4 the Kidz Charity Trust broke ground to build a creche to accommodate 50 children from Walmer township.
Isuzu Motors South Africa and the Isuzu ChildLife Foundation partnered with IRONMAN 4 the Kids to make the Early Birds Daycare in Sakhasonke Village, Walmer Township a reality.
In time for the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, which takes place next weekend [1 and 2 September], the newly built creche is situated on the route of the cycling leg of the world championship race - a perfect place for a legacy project to show the lasting impact international events like these have on the local community.
IRONMAN 4 the Kidz trustee and co-founder Gary Stephenson said he wished all the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship athletes success in the race, and "hoped that they would get the required energy boost up Buffelsfontein Road by knowing that their participation has inspired this amazing project that will sustain young children in the area for many years and inspire them to dream that anything is possible".
Isuzu Motors South Africa Corporate Communications Manager Gishma Johnson said Isuzu was invested in adding value to communities by providing sustainable solutions through solid partnerships.
"The partnership with IRONMAN 4 the Kidz to establish a crèche, demonstrates that both Isuzu and the IRONMAN fraternity are focused on sustainability for the future. The children who will benefit from the creche are given an early opportunity to develop their educational foundation in a safe environment," said Johnson.
Previously the creche owner, Neliswa Cawe, operated from her personal home, providing care to 27 children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. She will now be able to grow the number of children the creche cares for, in the spacious new building.
"I am over the moon and really cannot explain how happy I am about the new creche. The building is so nice and big - we are excited to move in. Thank you very much to everyone who has made a difference in the lives of the children from our area," said Cawe.
Cawe and the Early Birds Daycare children moved in today [Thursday, 23 August] into the 70 square meter creche building - consisting of a classroom, kitchen, veranda and bathroom.
One of the partners in this initiative is Touch Africa and according to Touch Africa Trustee Mike Glover there was huge excitement around the children moving out of their cramped environment into a brand-new daycare facility.
"The Early Birds Daycare creche is Touch Africa's fourth project of this nature and we have no doubt that Neliswa's new creche will not only assist in Early Childhood Development but also become a beacon of hope in this impoverished community," Glover said.
Stephenson thanked all the partners, including Touch Africa, Isuzu Motors South African and the Isuzu ChildLife Foundation, for their partnership in making the project a reality which was perfectly timed - with a week to go before athletes participate in the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Port Elizabeth.
"Many thanks to the builders that have completed a fabulous building that will serve the community. We are hopeful that the community will take pride in this creche and ensure that it is in a condition to supply the first learning steps to the local children for many years to come. We are also hopeful that the graduates of this creche will be able to progress to good schools from here with a foundation that enables them to continue to grow and prosper in society," Stephenson said.
Ahead of the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, IRONMAN 4 the Kids together with the IRONMAN Foundation joined forces by activating three Legacy projects for those in need in Nelson Mandela Bay. These projects included building the Early Birds Daycare, as well as to do general maintenance and painting of cottages at The Eastern Province Child and Youth Centre, and providing a bus to the community of Heatherbank to transport an average of 160 kids daily from Walmer township and surrounds.