Deborah Day Care is a children’s daycare centre that serves the Cape Town community of Parklands and beyond. Inspired by the belief that no child should go to school without proper nutrition, Mary Ogboko and her team have been running the centre along with a feeding scheme and transportation service since 2008, for children between the ages of six months and six years.
It currently holds a nurturing space for children from 27 families, ensuring they receive the care needed for good early childhood development in a way that takes their physical, mental and spiritual growth into account. Its activities inspire an interest in engaging with the world through sports and field trips.
“Knowing that I’m championing the next generation with love brings joy into my day’s work,” says Mary.
Her parents, Tolu and Olu George, have watched in admiration as their daughter has provided high-quality education to young children while her business suffers great financial constraints. “Mary has taken in many children whose parents are unable to pay their fees, especially due to Covid and their reduced incomes,” says her mother Tolu. “Her business is very important in the South African context, because a lot of people are struggling financially.”
Her father, Olu, agrees: “Deborah Day Care operates more like a community centre than a business. Mary has such a large heart that she’ll give discount upon discount to parents who really can’t afford this education, and will even feed non-paying children.”
Emeka Aligbe, whose son is a learner at Deborah Day Care, has first-hand experience of Mary’s kindness: “After my son was expelled from his initial daycare because I was unable to pay, I took him to Deborah Day Care. As I was unemployed for three years, they allowed him to go to school without asking for payment during that time, even ensuring that he had lunch when I couldn’t provide it.
“This school takes our community’s unique needs into consideration. I can trust them to look after my child with love, even when I’m held up at work and fetch him late. That goes a long way for a single father raising two children.”
“I opened more doors to help more children when I discovered some of the kids come to school with little lunch or no lunch at all, and this affects their concentration,” says Mary. “This is why we started our feeding scheme. We like to send kids home with food parcels and provide transportation for those who need it. We also provide a service for sports and recreational activities.”
Deborah Day Care has changed the lives of over 350 families in this way.
The V&A Waterfront paid for Deborah Day Care’s playground, and has pledged R20,000 to help with rental that is overdue because of discounts given to parents who lost jobs during lockdown. You too can help the centre for early childhood development by donating towards its rental challenges or providing healthy food for its feeding scheme. It would also like to create a computer class. If you are able to assist, please email firstname.lastname@example.org