Spielende Kinder auf der Wiese

Early childhood development centers

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Jabulani Day-Care Center – a pillar of the community

The Jabulani Day-Care Center in Eastern Cape, South Africa is one of the projects which the Umckaloabo Foundation has been continuously underwriting for years. At the same time, it is also a project supported by significant self-initiative and one which imaginatively responds to all sorts of circumstances — including the covid pandemic — and sees opportunities in every challenge. And uses them.

Jabulani is located in an informal settlement in Westlake in one of the poorest regions of South Africa. It is largely cut off from government support or services. Cynthia Isaacs created the Jabulani Day-Care Center sixteen years ago to offer child care to those who remained unsupervised while their parents went to work or looked for jobs.

Zwei spielende Mädchen
Kinder spielen im Kindergarten auf dem Boden

In the meantime, Cynthia has almost completely turned her house over to the day-care center. “The children shape our lives,” she says.

They really need a place like Jabulani. That said, the majority of parents here do not have a steady income which would allow the day-care center to charge fees that are high enough to actually cover its operating costs. This means that the support of the Umckaloabo Foundation is unspeakably valuable. When Jabulani was closed and the parents temporarily stopped paying fees, the Jabulani Day-Care Center would not have survived lockdown without the support of the Umckaloabo Foundation.

Community projects

Cynthia Isaacs did not lay down and wait for things to pass when lockdown started, however. She initiated other projects: In April 2020, when there were harsh restrictions in place in South Africa due to the pandemic and many people had lost their income from one day to the next, Cynthia ran a soup kitchen for three weeks. As a result, she was able to feed many children from the day-care center and their families.

When lockdown was extended and schools remained closed, Cynthia noticed that many children spent their day at a nearby property which was already being widely used as a garbage dump. In June, the idea came to her that she could start a community drive to get rid of the trash, and she herself paid a few young men to get involved. “Unfortunately, no one here will do something unless they are paid,” she sighs. “But the community knows and respects me, and at least people do help when I start a campaign.”

Vier Jugendliche räumen Müll weg
Zwei Personen räumen Müll weg

Some teenagers started creating a bike park on the site next to day-care center. Bicycles are a very important aspect of freetime for these children. They lend the bicycles to each other and practice jumps and other tricks. Cynthia wants to continue to make the grounds a place where the children of the community are safe and enjoy spending time.

Jugendliche mit Spaten bearbeiten den Boden
Erdaushub auf einer Wiese

These are not the first community projects Cynthia has started. She has also turned trash-strewn patches along the side of the road into little gardens. She continues to remain involved by encouraging children to pick up garbage in exchange for a small reward. During phases when the day-care center is open, part of her weekly schedule involves walking through the streets and teaching children to feel more responsible for their environment.

Pflanzen an einer Hausmauer
Kinder bei Gartenarbeit

Sometimes it feels as if she’s jousting against windmills, because garbage can be found on the streets or along the side of the road again and again. But Cynthia is not losing hope. She firmly believes that she can change her community with every piece of trash that is picked up, every little step, every new project.

Jabulani Day-Care Center – how it came about and what it is

The name Jabulani is a Zulu word which means “being happy.” Cynthia Isaacs and her husband, Pastor Roland Isaacs, chose the name Jabulani for their day-care center because they want the children in their very poor community in Westlake near Capetown to be happy. Jabulani is a place of joy where disadvantaged children can play, learn and grow up in a safe environment.

In 2004, Roland and Cynthia took in the first baby and thus laid the cornerstone for the Jabulani Day-Care Center. In the meantime, the two of them work with two employees in their own home five days a week, looking after 45 children between the ages of five months and five years. This lets the parents go to work with a clean conscience, knowing that their children are not spending the day unsupervised. Another 15 babies are lovingly taken care of in another house.

The first years of life shape the future of each and every one of us. Childhood is an extremely sensitive phase in which children develop very quickly on an emotional, cognitive and social level. These early years form the foundation for later learning.  This is why proper support and education are of vital importance to the healthy development of every child.

The Jabulani Day-Care Center gives children not only a safe place and a warm meal but encourages the development of their motor skills, language and musical abilities; it also offers creative outlets and a good environment for social learning. In addition, the children learn English here to prepare them for elementary school.

That said, the Center repeatedly reaches its limits in terms of its finances, staff and space, which means we desperately need your help so we can continue assisting disadvantaged families in Westlake.

Become involved and help support the Jabulani Day-Care Center in Capetown. Your donation is given in full to the project.

Südafrika Straßenszene


We promote the academic and personal development of children and young people. 

Vier kleine Kinder nebeneinander


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