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 local primary school next door. The children are quite happily accepted there and are way ahead of the other children because of the school preparation programme that Mrs Patricia Zikhali runs very successfully.
Our kindergarten is in a very underdeveloped area with dire poverty. This goes so far that some parents cannot even pay the ridiculously small fee of 2 Euros per month and cannot even provide lunch for their children.
Therefore, we have decided that from our side we will give proper and nutritious meals to the children in order to relieve the poverty of the people a little bit and to prevent malnutrition. When the children go home with a full stomach, the family has one less mouth to feed. Meanwhile, at Blessed Gérard's Kindergarten, we give the children two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. In addition, we have decided to reduce the burden on really poor families by not having to pay even the 2 Euros per month. We are happy to report that our kindergarten is filled to capacity. Out of 32 children at the end of December 2004, nine will transfer to primary school in the new year 2005 and the waiting list for new admissions to the kindergarten for next year is already full with the names of expectant little people.
Blessed Gérard's kindergarten is situated high up on a hill overlooking the Indian Ocean. The proximity to the sea and the salty air mean that the playground equipment is suffering, as is the building. The building needs major repairs - the roof is leaking, the paint is peeling, the water pipes need to be replaced and most of the playground equipment is rusty and needs to be repaired or replaced. We need to do these repairs during the Christmas holidays.