Lockdown impacts educare centres

Educare centres across the country are among the enterprises which have been forced to shut their doors as the country tries to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

They are now left to deal with the financial implications as the country prepares to go into lockdown from midnight tonight, Thursday March 26, until Thursday April 16.

Many educare centres in the township are solely dependent on fees as many do not have operating certificates from the Department of Social Development .

This means that they are not eligible to receive any additional funding from the department as they do not meet the required operating standards.

Onesimo Educare Centre founder in Khayelitsha, Andiswa Rasi, said she runs her educare centre on a shoestring budget, which does not cover all the operating costs.

Ms Rasi, 66, said she looks after 32 children. The fees start from R200 a month and depend on the age of the child.

With the country being on lockdown, she is left with no source of income for her three teachers and six volunteers who won’t receive their salaries and stipend until they reopen.

Sadly, she said her teachers were the breadwinners at their homes and are the only ones working -and this means that their families might not have food for the entire lockdown. She worried how they would cope. Ms Rasi said parents would also be reluctant to pay their children’s full fees while the children are at home. She said another dilemma that they might face is if the schools are reopened during the month many parents won’t agree to pay the full monthly fees, arguing that the children would only attend for a few days before the month ended.

Ms Rasi said this has been one of the most frustrating times for her and it is causing her a lot of stress.

She believes it would take months for her educare centre to recover financially when the virus is no longer a threat.

“This is a sad time for everyone. I wish the government would assist financially when this disease is over.

“I’m not against the closing of the educare because we deal with children who are vulnerable to this disease but I wish and pray that the government creates a funding scheme for us. “We have nowhere to look for help,” she said.