Scene 4: Gathering Community Energy and Crèche Information

Monday, November 10th


With the help of Sizwe and the WaSH-UP Business Team, we were able to set up a meeting with a crèche leader in Langrug. Our goal for this meeting is to share our project and the concept of the Wonderbag. Depending on the crèche leader’s interest, we hoped that she will be one of the crèches we work with to distribute the energy products.

Cast of Characters

Amanda is a new member of the community that was able to share ideas and walk around Langrug with the team.

Nobathembu is a local crèche principal who is also very involved in the community.


The energy team went to Langrug informal settlement to visit a local crèche. Langrug is about a 45 minute drive away from Cape Town and has about 5,000 community members. However, 70% of the community members are unemployed. Part of this settlement has electricity built by the government, but the  higher part of Langrug has no electricity. The crèche we visited was one small room and had roughly 85 students, making it relatively crowded. There was one female instructor teaching  the students. There was electricity in the crèche providing light, but it was still dark inside.

Langrug creche

Nobathembu’s crèche


We arrived at Langrug to meet with Nobathembu, who owns a fee-based crèche in the community. However, Nobathembu was unable to meet with us for the day as we had initially planned because she was working on building the new WaSH-UP facility. Therefore, we were not able to ask her the questions we had planned about the crèche and her interest in selling Wonderbags.

Despite this initial setback, we were able to speak with Amanda, a new member to the Langrug community that is just starting to get involved in the WaSH-UP projects. She showed us around the community and explained how the community gets its energy. We were able to ask her energy cost information. In the section of the community that has electricity; she shared that a home will pay R200 a week. She also explained how the area of Langrug with no official electricitrical connections gets its energy by tapping into the lower part of Langrug. Another energy source used is paraffin, which costs R13.50 per liter allowing for 2 to 3 meals to be cooked. We shared with her that the Wonderbag would allow 6 meals to be cooked with one liter since it cuts the paraffin time by a third; she thought that this was amazing and great for the community. We also shared our payment plan idea with Amanda; she thought it was a great idea and she appreciated our project.

We walked up to the new WaSH-UP facility and Amanda was able to get Nobathembu to speak with us for a brief moment. Tati explained to her what our project was and that we were hoping to work with her if she was willing to join the project. She seemed interested in the idea of getting Wonderbags out to the community; however, we do not believe she fully understood what we were hoping to accomplish in regards to business since we only had a short amount of time to explain. She expressed her interest in showing the mothers how a Wonderbag works and Rachel asked her when would be a good time for her to do so. Nap time for the children seemed to be the best time for her to demonstrate the potential of the Wonderbag. This was very useful insight for us as we move forward since other crèches will be able to use this idea of demonstrating during nap time. Nobathembu also shared that she is a user of Wonderbags and was surprised when Jing showed her the one we brought since it was not as “soft” as her own. We explained that this was a newer version of the product and functions in the same way. Overall, her insight was very informative to the team.

Amanda suggested we visit the crèche next. We followed her down the main path to where the crèche was as she explained that this creche costs R100 per month for each kid. When we walked in, the children were in the middle of class and recited the months and seasons for us in English. They were all very enthusiastic and kept waving to us as we stood inside the shack. One thing that stood out to the team as we looked around was the lack of space to store the Wonderbags and other products. We hope to reevaluate our storage plan from the information we gathered visiting our first crèche in a low income community.

Reflection and Learning

We were very grateful for all the information Amanda provided and for her to take time out of the WaSH-UP project to show us around. We were able to get information about energy costs, which is essential to our project in order to show the savings the Wonderbag gives. In addition, we got to see a crèche which was important for us as we are in the process of creating a business plan brochure for the crèche women who decide to sell energy products. Since the space in the  crèche is already small for the amount of kids, it is not as feasible as we hoped to keep the products in the crèche. We have to reconsider our business plan as we move forward. Today was also exciting as we were able to share the business opportunity to Nobathembu and she seemed to be interested in the possibility of using the crèche as a distribution point. Despite not meeting with her for a long time as planned, we had a very productive day in Langrug gathering a lot of useful insight and information from Amanda.

Scene 5: A Visit to Flamingo