iThemba Trust

Bulelani ku Yehava Daycare Centre

Bulelani is a warm and welcoming environment offering meals, supervision and activities for over 90 children aged between three months and six years. More than just a place of safety and well being, the centre fulfils a critical need to the communities of Delft, Leyden, Thubelisha, Silvertown and Tsunam who lack the resources for quality childcare.

The Bulelani Story

On her daily dawn commute from the hospital where she worked as a nurse, to her home in the Joe Slovo informal settlement, Maria Ndlezana witnessed firsthand how many children in her community were left to fend for themselves while their parents left for a day's work. Some children were locked out of their shacks, and others locked in (for their safety). Desperate to do something about this, Maria started an informal childcare service, using her old red Mazda to lift the children safely to and from their homes. It was not long before this formidable woman - with her unwavering spirit and big heart - became known to the community as Mama Maria, and the Bulelani ku Yehava Daycare Centre was born.

In 2008 the centre was forcibly relocated from Joe Slovo to a temporary site outside Delft (a bleak area called Thubelisha) and many of the families followed her there in order to keep their children in her care.

The centre currently feeds and cares for 200 children - most of whom are collected from their homes. This lift-scheme has had to be outsourced since Maria's car is no longer operational. Without infrastructure in the area, including public transport, the only alternative is to keep funding this service through donations.

Bulelani receives absolutely no government funding and expenses are paid by iThemba Trust together with the paltry childcare fees paid by the parents when possible. Beyond the ongoing operational expenses, iThemba would like to fund further classrooms for Grade 1 pupils, Educare and Babycare training for the carers, purchase educational toys and art equipment, install a shadecloth for the outside area, maintain the existing vegetable garden and plant trees and flowers to create privacy and an improved outdoor environment for the children.

The Staff

The dedicated team of teachers and staff at Bulelani Daycare Centre are:

Maria Martina Ndlezana (Principal)
Pakama Ndlezana (Deputy Principal)
Nombulelo Mazotsho (Baby and infant care)
Nokuzola Myeko (Baby and infant care)
Nozipho Mdingi (3-4 years Teacher)
Nomza Mo Ben (4-5 years Teacher)
Susan Phiri (Grade R Teacher)
Neliswa Tom (Cook and kitchen manager)
Mabhaso Golintethe (Garden and maintenance)


Maria Ndlezana

Pakama Ndlezana

Nombulelo Mazotsho

Nokuzola Myeko

Nozipho Mdingi

Nomza Mo Ben

Susan Phiri

Neliswa Tom

How to Help Bulelani Daycare Centre

If you would like to become a regular contributor to the centre, or pledge a once-off donation, please contact for more information

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