Local volunteers visit Africa for extreme makeover

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A team of 17 volunteers, along with a project manager, have successfully carried out an extreme makeover in Johannesburg thanks to JAM South Africa.

The team headed out to South Africa on July 5 and managed to complete their project in just five days.

They replaced an unsuitable facility with a properly constructed building, the Phuthego Early Childhood Development Centre, which was erected before they
arrived.

They also created a play area with swings, a chute and climbing frame.

The team helped to decorate the new building and furnished it with tables, chairs, beds, basic toilet and washing facilities, learning materials and toys.

Most of team members’ time was spent painting, laying an astro turf and erecting a shaded area where the local children can play. They also installed a jungle gym.

On their last day, the volunteers held a party with the children to celebrate the makeover.

Upon leaving, the group committed to feed 100 children for one year.

Feeding is the main thrust of JAM and over 1.1 million people are fed daily in five nations of Africa.

The vision of the charity is “Helping Africa help itself”.

The Peterhead JAM team included business people, fishermen, a dentist, a primary school teacher and a mix of mums, dads, grandmas and granddads.

Team members managed to raise over £23,000 through donations and fundraising.

Speaking to the Buchanie after the visit, team leader Jean Gardner said: “We would like to say a big thank you to our families, friends and to the generous people of
Peterhead.

“Our team did amazingly and they are all keen to go back again.

“Special thanks to a kid’s club, a local nursery and primary school children who gave their pennies to help children in Africa.

“Local companies have been so generous, ladies made aprons with the JAM logo and knitted jumpers, hats, gloves and teddies for each child.

“One lady made sausage rolls and sold them to help raise funds and a burger lady collected money in the JAM tins.

She added: “Our team members climbed Ben Nevis, hosted various events including a buttery morning, car boot sale, fish and chip night, fashion show, soup and sweet, bag packing, an acoustic night and a ceilidh all to raise money for the trip.”

A spokesperson for JAM South Africa said: “2014 marks South Africa’s 20 years of democracy. Great transformation has occured but a lot more work is needed, not only by the government but by all who care about the future generations.

“In July, an enthusiastic team from Peterhead transformed Phuthego Day Care Centre located in the township of Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.

“Established by Salome Pokolo, the child care centre had very limited funds and was in need of infrastructural development.

“The makeover team provided new classrooms, painted them in stimulating colours, provided the children with educational toys, and above all, invested their time in the child care
centre.”

They added: “JAM South Africa are incredibly grateful to the team for investing in South Africa’s future - the moveover they undertook contributes to the preparation of young preschool children for the future.”