Haielle founder Yoel Vaisberg visiting a preschool in Limpopo South Africa – August 2017

In August 2017 part of the HAIELLE team had the amazing opportunity to visit the Limpopo Province in northern South-Africa, close to the border with Zimbabwe, where we spent three days learning closely from the communities that harvest Baobab and Marula seeds.

In addition to enjoying breathtaking views and spotting friendly members of the African fauna, this experience was very insightful to learn more about the benefits of these fruits and the production process, but it especially gave us the opportunity to interact with members of the Venda community.

Marula and Baobab trees in Limpopo Province South Africa

This visit was guided by Dr. Sarah Venter, who founded the Baobab Foundation in 2014. Sarah has a Ph.D. in the Ecology of Baobabs and is one of the founding members of the African Baobab Alliance. She has spent many years promoting the conservation of baobab trees and working with rural communities in the Venda area of the Limpopo Province.
Sarah facilitated one of the most humbling experiences of our trip since she took us to one of the preschools were the children of the farmers are cared for while their parents are working on the fields and harvesting the fruits.

The conditions of the preschools vary, but they are usually rudimentary facilities located on open spaces. They are comprised by the main building, a playground, and toilets.

Some of the villages don’t even have preschools, like the Tshikuyu Village where a 3m x 3m building was being used for this purpose. This is a very limited space for the children to shelter from the harsh sun and pouring rain and to store equipment, toys, tables, and chairs.

Additionally, the structure was also used by the community for many other purposes and often the children had to vacate the building if the community had another need for the premises.

Original preschool building in village – December 2017
Mavis Munzhelele pointing out the new building site – March 2018

In April 2018, the principal, Mrs. Mavis Munzhelele told Sarah that the chief, Mr. Harrison Tshiwandelani, had allocated a piece of land for the building of a new preschool and she asked if it was possible to receive some donations to assist the building of the new preschool.

HAIELLE was delighted to participate in this initiative since it gives back to the communities that produce the magnificent fruits that we use in our products.

The project consisted of building a structure for 3 classrooms, toilets, store room, and kitchen. It also included swings, climbing frames, and equipment.

Thanks to the collaboration of HAIELLE together with other generous donors, by January 2019, the main classroom building and toilets have been completed. The full project is expected to be finished by Q1 2019.

Principal Munzhelele and Chief Tshiwandelani at the building site – Nov 2018
Classroom block close to completion
Classroom block and toilets brightly painted. January 2019

This experience reminds us that we should be grateful for the conditions in which our children grow in developed countries and it also motivates the HAIELLE team to keep crafting our project in a sustainable way, by developing a balanced model that adds value to all the partners involved thus enhancing their wellbeing.

The GPS co-ord of the new preschool building site is: -22.420735, 30.947607