Love for children is step one

Rosemary Long, founder and owner of Ring-a-Roses: “I call our children ‘free range kids’: they play all day.”
Rosemary Long, founder and owner of Ring-a-Roses: “I call our children ‘free range kids’: they play all day.”
Image: MICHAEL PINYANA

Ring-a-Roses creche founder Rosemary Long said the most important factor when starting a creche is a love  for children.

“Without it you will not have a happy facility,” she said.

Long started Ring-a-Roses in 2018 with one child, doing all the caring herself.

A year later, she has 14 children, two carer staff members and a teacher, and she is still totally hands-on.

“The leap in numbers comes solely from word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied parents,” she said.

Long started her business after a long break from working.

“I was a farmer in what is now Makhanda, then moved into business, focusing on communication and human resources.

“I had to retire for a few years and when I wanted to get back to work, I found that being 50 I just could not get a job in the formal sector.

Ring-a-Roses owner Rosemary Long calls the children in her care ‘free range kids’ as they play all day.
SING-ALONG: Ring-a-Roses owner Rosemary Long calls the children in her care ‘free range kids’ as they play all day.
Image: MICHAEL PINYANA

“My daughter suggested care; she said I was excellent with children, so I started my creche.”

Long said opening a creche was not easy, “unless you have under six children, in which case the requirements are very different, more like having your grandchildren visit you”.

“More than  six children is more onerous.”

Getting all the paperwork and various authorisations in order was time-consuming, she said, as was doing the changes to, in her case, her home in Vincent, East London.

Long added that Buffalo City Metro’s service was excellent when it came to creche matters.

Nevertheless, she cautioned people intent on opening a creche as a money-spinner, saying while parents were prepared to pay for proper care for their precious children, the dawn-to-dusk hours were demanding.

“When a child is crying you have to jump, irrespective of what you are doing. We can tell who the child is merely from a cry.”

Pearl Kataza, the founder of Uthixo Unathi, a village creche in Jongilanga Village in Kwelera, reopened its doors for 2020 on Friday last week. She and her husband sold their home and used the funds to start the creche. It is one of many supported by the Rotary service clubs.

Four years ago Gately club decided to focus on early childhood development (ECD). The rationale was that to give a child a decent shot at an education, making them, school-ready was the starting point.

Step one was sourcing, facilitation and funding 50 practitioners with an NQF 4 qualification. These practitioners, upon graduation, were deployed to 50 ECD centres around the Border Kei area, affecting the lives of 3,000 children under their direct care.

The project was supported by local and international clubs and funds raised exceeded R3m.


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