Situated in the heart of Alexandra Township, Leratong (meaning “Place of Love”), provides a safe haven and quality education for its pupils in a challenging environment. Alex is a vibrant but deprived area and one of the most densely populated places in South Africa. The pre-school is a lively, loving and nurturing place where it is hard to comprehend that many of the carefree children go home to situations of real hardship. What further makes this refuge more important for these children is that it allows them to be who they are – small, innocent and playful. It helps them learn that despite what they are exposed to, there is still goodness in the world.
Peggy Chauke, a highly respected figure in the local community, is the school’s principal and has run the school since its formation in 1993. It has taken much determination and courage to get the school to where it is today. Originally based on two separate sites, the school provided daily education and meals for up to 140 children. However, faced with the lack of provision and a growing need to care for orphaned children, Peggy was driven to combine the classrooms into one of the premises and to convert the other into an orphanage. Funded by the Kadey Family Trust, Peggy now lives in the orphanage but continues to run Leratong. Currently over 70 children attend daily and continue to receive pre-school education, nourishing meals and aftercare support.
Since the inception of Gumboots Foundation SA in 2002, it has played a major part in the development of Leratong by securing funds to pay salaries, to improve school facilities and to provide food and provisions. The school is an integral part of the community and, with Peggy’s wisdom and compassion, many of the parents and surrounding community turn to her in troubled times.