Blessed Gérard's Early Childhood Development Centre

We run a kindergarten and pre-school for socially disadvantaged children in a poor rural area.

We are often asked if it is necessary to run a pre-school and a crèche in such a remote area as oWhebede. Yes, it is. The poverty rate in Zululand is very high. People often live from hand to mouth and single mothers struggle very hard to earn a living. Children are left to fend for themselves from a young age; older siblings look after the very young ones.

Our preschool provides these children with security, education and a healthy meal that meets the nutritional needs of a day and gives them a good start to school life. Providing children with everything they need to develop well is our contribution to equal opportunities for the poorest in this disadvantaged area. It is always a great joy to see these lively, attentive children in the pre-school and crèche.

We offer the children entrusted to us the great opportunity of a sound pre-school education

It has been our experience that children who are largely left to their own devices without much intellectual stimulation at preschool age have a very hard time later on in school. With our pre-school education, we help these children get off to a more successful start in school. Numerous positive feedbacks from our school children confirm this. For the mothers, our kindergarten offers the chance to go to work to earn the necessary living and at the same time to know that their children are lovingly and well cared for.


Our kindergarten is located in Whebede. In this area, most people live in very poor conditions. Many fathers of families are forced to move away as migrant workers (e.g. to the port of Durban or to the gold mines in Johannesburg or even further) in order to find work. Often they come home only once or twice a year and leave their wives and the ever-growing flock of children again after a short time. Often mothers have to take care of themselves and the children alone. All too often, fathers do not send money home. This need was the reason why we opened the kindergarten back in 1995 and have been running it ever since with a constantly growing number of children.

History of the Early Childhood Development Centre

History of the Early Childhood Development Centre

The local people of oWhebede - which is one of the communities in the parish of Mangete - which is situated on the north bank of the Tugela (river), asked us to help them build a day care centre. Because of the urgency of the project, we then opened the nursery on 1 September 1994 in a temporary building until the new building was completed. We inaugurated the new building on 29 July 1995. 

In 2012/13, we were able to double the capacity of our kindergarten, which had always been "hopelessly" overcrowded (the kindergarten was built and equipped for 30 children, but was last occupied by 68 children!

At the request of Malteser Hilfsdienst München, Sternstunden e.V. covered the construction and furnishing costs of the extension.

The extension was started on 22 November 2012 and put into operation on 26 February 2013.

Annual Report 2020

Annual Report 2020

We have cared for more than eighty children in the pre-school and crèche this year. Children from families who otherwise do not have access to early education. The goal of all pre-school education is to help children grow up as healthy and happy people: People who are able to build relationships, have a positive outlook on life and are willing to help others. It teaches values that are important in our society, self-confidence, but also social behaviour and consideration for the weaker ones.

In the last year before starting school, the children are even better prepared for starting school. Our nursery teachers are specially trained for these requirements. Just as important as a good education is good nutrition for our children. Many children come from families where there is not enough to eat. Our goal is to give disadvantaged children a good start in school.

Reports from the Early Childhood Development Centre

Report - Christmas 2004

Blessed Gérard's kindergarten is now ten years old-. 

All these years it has run continuously and is only closed during the annual Christmas holidays. Our pre-school then releases the children to the…


From our newsletter of Easter 1999

Blessed Gérard's Kindergarten

We are happy to report that with the encouragement of our new Project Coordinator, H. H. Rev. Sipho, and the happy atmosphere that Miss Zikhali has created in our…


Report from Christmas 1998

Blessed Gérard's Kindergarten

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Miss Zikhali who will start working in our kindergarten in January 1999. In the meantime she is gaining experience as a helper…


From our newsletter of Easter 1998

Blessed Gérard's Kindergarten

Our kindergarten has gone through difficult times due to unrest, unstable living conditions and unemployment in the area. Despite this, Miss Veronika Mthethwa, our…


From our newsletter of Christmas 1996

Blessed Gérard's Pre-primary School & Crèche.

Nine of our children were discharged from kindergarten to go to primary school in 1997.

Congratulations to the children, their parents and Miss Veronica…


From our newsletter of Christmas 1995

Blessed Gérard's Pre-primary School & Crèche

THE FIRST "SCHOOL LEARNING" In our last newsletter you read about the opening of Blessed Gérard's Pre-primary School and we had introduced you to many of…


Report from the inauguration on 29 July 1995

Blessed Gérard's KINDERGARTEN

Bishop Mansuet Dela Biyase blessed our kindergarten in Whebede on Saturday 29 July 1995.

The Chairman of the International Committee of the Federated Association of the…


From our April 1995 Newsletter

KINDERGARTEN The new building of our kindergarten in Whebede

The construction work for the new building of our kindergarten is almost finished. The children will be able to move in within the next few…


From our newsletter of December 1994


In January 1995 we will open this institution in a temporary building in Whebede, kwaZulu/Natal. Our educator Miss Veronika Makhosazana Mthethwa was trained in Nqutu in Northern Natal by…


From our newsletter of 5 April 1994


We are preparing a new project:

We have been asked to build and run a kindergarten in Whebede.

Whebede is a parish of the Mangete parish.

We have our hands full clarifying the necessary…