A few weeks ago, I found myself in the middle of a grade R (the South African version of kindergarten) classroom in downtown Joburg, watching kids have fun with paper, glue, paint, and glitter. The kids were assembling and decorating big paper flowers for the nearby Joziburg Lane market at One Eloff Street. The flowers would be used to decorate Joziburg Lane for its opening festival during the last week of May.

Joziburg Lane launch-6796Cute kids, ready to paint.

Birds-eye view of kids painting at Grow Up and Learn SchoolBirds-eye view of the painting underway.

A happy girl with a happy completed flowerA happy girl with her completed flower.

Teacher Pauline with a paper flowerPauline, a teacher who I believe is also the founder of the Grow Up and Learn School, with her flower.

After the madness of the all the flower creation was dying down, I took two Instax pictures of each kid with his/her flower. One picture went home with the child and the other one went to One Eloff.

A couple of weeks later, just before the Joziburg Lane Festival, I met the kids at One Eloff to photograph them decorating the Lane.

Line of children with flowers at Joziburg LaneThere is nothing cuter than a nearly straight line of tiny children.

Kids playing at Joziburg LaneThe little girl on the left is not a student at the Grow Up and Learn School. Her parents were looking at an apartment at One Eloff, and the girl cried and cried until her parents let her join the other kids. Once she was with them, she didn’t really know what to do with herself.

Kid with flower at Joziburg LaneThe One Eloff sales staff saw what was happening from their office, and came down to help the kids stick the flowers to the fence. 

Cute kid running with flowerAt first the kids were a bit confused about what they were doing there. I think they’d been woken up from a nap. But they quickly got into the spirit, and then a whole big paper flower party broke out.

Instax pictures at Joziburg LaneThe Instax section of the wall.

Instax closeupInstax closeup.

Fortunately it doesn’t rain or get very windy at this time of the year, so the wall still looked great when the Joziburg Lane Festival started a couple of days later.

Decorated Joziburg LaneJoziburg Lane on the weekend of the festival.

Joburg Ballet at Joziburg LaneThe Joburg Ballet put on a pop-up performance at the Joziburg Lane Festival. See the flowers in the background?

This was a fun project, and I’ll be writing more about One Eloff and Joziburg Lane in the future.

While watching the kids decorate the flowers at the Grow Up and Learn School I had a chat with Girlie Khoza, the grade R teacher at the school. This non-profit school is located in one of Joburg’s tougher neighborhoods, receives little to no public funding, and has very few resources. The kids have no outdoor space to play, the school is short of supplies (the kids were wearing makeshift garbage bags as smocks while they painted), and the kitchen facilities need upgrading.

The guys from Molten Black, who oversee the One Eloff project, have agreed to marshall some resources — construction materials, volunteer time, etc. — to help the Grow Up and Learn School. And I agreed to ask my readers to donate to the school. Molten Black will collect the donations in a special account and then give the money to the school.

If you’d like to make a donation, please use the following account details:

Account name: Buffshelfco 7 Pty Ltd
Bank: Standard Bank
Account number: 001 734 970
Branch: Balfour Park
Branch No: 009 160

Please type in “Grow Up and Learn” as your reference for this donation.

The school doesn’t have its own website or a donation tool, so for now the donations will be limited to South Africans who can give via an EFT. But if I receive a lot of interest, perhaps we can set up something more formalized. Let’s see what happens.

Excited, happy kidsHappy kids.

If you want to check out Joziburg Lane for yourself (I’m sure the flowers are still up), follow them on Facebook for their upcoming events.

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