The principal of Noluthando Daycare Centre in Khayelitsha and some of her staff members have decided to start cooking two meals a week for hungry children during the lockdown.
“We started this week on Tuesday and we had more than 50 children,” said Nobuzwe Mavis Mbaba, the principal of the centre.
They cooked again on Thursday and soon the number of hungry mouths more than tripled so that they were feeding more than 150 children.
The daycare centre is responsible for 252 children, from infant to approximately six years old.
After the lockdown was announced, Mbaba’s main concern was how the children would be fed because they usually received two meals a day at school, she said.
“They’re coming from disadvantaged homes. There’s no food, [in] some there’s too much liquor and I was very worried about the children,” she told News24.
Mbaba only started cooking this week because she was afraid of breaking the lockdown regulations. However, she has implemented strict protocols to protect her staff and the children.
She personally funds the cost of the meals she cooks for the children and, after children were turned away on Thursday because the pot was empty, she wants to cook more food.
She said some children who don’t attend the daycare centre collected food as well as adults.
She feared running out of food if the lockdown continued.
“I’m worried about that. Maybe if there will be somebody or some companies that they can assist us, I can continue to cook for the children,” she said.
One of her staff members who normally works in the daycare centre’s kitchen, Pumla Ndiki, said the children were happy when they heard the daycare would be cooking for them.
“I was also happy to be able to come and cook for the children because at the end of the day, they [are] smiling, knowing that in these days, they [are] coming here to dish… food,” she said.