Quality childcare is impossible if the physical facilities at a centre don’t meet some basic standards.
This does not mean having everything that opens and shuts, and it does not mean trying to match expensive schools in rich areas. But if there are no proper toilet facilities, if the yard is dangerous because it is open to the street, of if toys end up in a jumble all the time because they can’t be stored anywhere, there’s no hope of running a proper programme that will help the children learn and fly.
Yet the schools we work with are extremely poor, and don’t have the means to get the things that are needed – or sometimes the knowledge of what is important and what is not – to accomplish this. Improvements need money, access to transport and knowledge of educational principles.
So the starting point for any work with a centre is a visit to work out what is needed for the centre to become safe, hygienic, comfortable and as attractive as possible. Sometimes, this means a new structure; sometimes just paint or some new shelves.
A physical plan is then drawn up that shows what is needed inside and outside. Then the work begins... we fundraise and make things for the centre, and put in all the furniture and toys that the teacher needs to run our educational programme. This happens over time: we cannot always fix everything all at once – sometimes we have to wait for funds and suitable donations!
Makeovers make running an appropriate programme possible. They are also a gesture of faith by Flying Children, that shows very practically what the benefits are of participating in the programme.
Makeovers are carried out as cheaply as possible. We are always looking for donations or second-hand items, and wherever possible hire local contractors to do any building work. There is nothing wrong with used toys or shelves, as long as they are still serviceable.