Scene 4: Visiting ELRU Opens Doors for a Crèche in Flamingo


After having been in Flamingo for several weeks, our group came to the conclusion that while constructing a physical crèche is not feasible, laying the foundation for future development would be a helpful tool after reblocking.  Among our goals for the Crèche, we hoped to establish funding for materials and teacher payment, identify teachers and training resources, and compile local, NGO and government resources for administrative reference material.  After several attempts to visit ELRU, we decided not to meet with the director, but rather several staff members working in the facility.

Cast of Characters

WPI Project Team Members: Molly, Sarah
City Employees: Anneline Plaaitjies, Estralita Kwalo
Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU) staff


The ELRU building’s waiting room, one block around the corner from Flamingo Crescent


ELRU, the Early Learning Resource Unit, stands behind a tall green automated gate, the only opening in a 10 foot cement wall surrounding it.  We buzzed the secretary and she opened the gate for us to come inside.  As we approached the grassy, front yard and pathway to the door, we saw the side of the building is beautified with a huge mural.  To the left of the path was a large modern sculpture created from recycled materials.  It was beautifully colorful and earthy inspired, like a tree of learning.  Such a building stood out in the industrial area of Flamingo Crescent.

We went inside and introduced ourselves to the secretary as the team members of the WPI project group working in Flamingo Crescent. Although the director was still busy, the staff in the office were more than willing to speak with us.  We explained our goals to help organize local resources for administrative support of the Crèche in the community to them to their fascination.

Immediately the woman behind the desk turned around and gathered several resources from the shelf behind her. She spread them out on the desk before us and explained the teachers resource manuals they sell to crèches and the three branches for children’s educational books: science, language, and math.  Because South African history was so rooted in political struggle, the educational program intentionally avoided the subject to avoid any conflicts.  They also had educational and decorative posters that promoted equality and higher education for display around classrooms.

We then pursued the teachers resources, and discovered that in addition to physical resources, the ELRU holds three month long sessions four times a year for basic teacher training.  Additionally, this training was free to anyone interested in signing up.  Higher level training was also offered for free by ELRU, however, higher eduacation classes were aimed towards current teachers and required enrollment through a local college.

The staff were extraordinarily eager about our work in Flamingo and asked many questions about what we’ve been doing and what we hoped to accomplish.  We shared the concern that the largest improvement opportunity with informal settlements was the children.  Without access to resources, or solid role models, children have little opportunity to create better lives for themselves.  The people we met in the informal settlement tended to have either been born into poverty with little opportunity, or fallen under a series of unfortunate events and have trouble ensuring the same doesn’t happen for their children.  We hoped that through the development of a crèche, the children could gain equal opportunity and strong leadership figures in Flamingo Cresent.

As we discussed our high hopes for the development of a creche in Flamingo Crescent, the ELRU staff noted that ELRU would be willing to donate resources and books to such a cause, and they could even organize a local book drive to stock the shelves.


Our visit to the ELRU was more than enlightening, it was heart warming.  We truly felt that between the various local resources, we had the complete support and passion we needed to lay a solid foundation for the development of a crèche in Flamingo Crescent.