Dear Beloved Supporters of The Butterfly Centre,

Well, the one thing I think we can all agree on is that 2020 hasn’t gone quite according to plan! I have discussed this with many of my new Lighthouse2Lighhouse friends the strange, and somehow significant, timing of our walk. We literally set off on March 26th from one world, and walked 100km into one which looked completely different.
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The Butterfly Centre has not escaped the effects of Covid unscathed. The pandemic and the resulting complete lockdown meant a number of things. Firstly, income from fees (always a bit of a challenge) was suddenly severely restricted. The knock-on effect of unemployment on our families will see an increase in this challenge. Fund raising in this time is very difficult, as various very deserving projects have urgent priority, and charitable people and organisations face “donor fatigue”.
I have always felt confident that we could raise the necessary funds here at Stanford Hills by hosting events. Suddenly now, however, events (including our biggest annual fundraiser usually held in November) seem unlikely to be allowed to take place.
The future seemed suddenly unsure and uncertain. Would some children with co-morbidities even be able to return?

The world had suddenly come to a complete standstill and our envisioned growth and expansion, although by no means cancelled, would certainly need to be somewhat delayed. This meant some difficult decisions needed to be made to ensure the long term survival of the project.
Our principal, Lee, graciously accepted retrenchment for now. She was absolutely integral in helping us set up the necessary thousands of forms and policies and procedures needed to jump through the Governmental hoops, and we can’t thank her enough. (If anyone currently has work for an excellent speech therapist who is also great with kids and admin, as well as an all around amazing person, please get in touch!). The administrative functions of this post will for now be shared on a pro bono basis by four of our committee members Jami Kastner, Andrew Herriot, Debbie Taverner Smith and Adel Field.

Our staff have been amazing, and willing to negotiate in the best interests of the Centre and it’s children. (We do currently have some funds available, but these are specifically for growth and infrastructure and not for running costs. We’ll get back to that in a bit!)

The new sleek structure means a very small monthly deficit which is clearly what is needed while we regroup in these unprecedented times. Our teachers did their level best, despite enormous challenges, to keep the children busy and motivated during lockdown. We managed to get a box of stationery, workbooks and art materials to each child, and printed out work where Whatsapp was not possible. The students and parents have really struggled to cope with all these new challenges too. But now, finally, after incredible support from other local NPO’s including Grootbos Foundation and Flowervalley Trust we are READY TO RE-OPEN!!
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Today, on Tuesday 1 September, we welcome back our very excited, very happy, well masked and sanitised children back to the Centre! Oh, it feels just wonderful for all of us. There has been laughter and a great deal of joy and, as I sit and write this, they are all at their desks and I can hear them hard at work. Our extremely passionate and qualified Senior Teachers Sindy and Ros have been working all through August on ensuring our curriculum and teaching materials are ready. Each child has an IEP (Individualised Education Plan) that is unique to their own skills and capabilities, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to reach their own full potential at their own pace. It is a great feeling for the brass bell (a donation from Cousin Jim all the way from Scotland)signalling the start of the school day to ring once again.

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If you follow the basics, you’ll be aware of the following (completely miraculous) events...we had calculated the cost of the move including building and finishing off of Phase 1 at R1 million. Incredibly, a visit to the Centre by the Nussbaum Foundation led to a commitment by them of R500 000, provided we could raise the balance.

Armed with this knowledge, we presented to the Lighthouse2Lighthouse ladies to be considered as their primary beneficiary. Somehow I knew, deep in my heart, we would get it. (Thank you, Sam)

Incredibly the L2L 2020 raised R800 000! We were able to complete Phase 1, the floors have been finished off, landscaping being done, animal enclosure built, window blinds being made. And we have money left over! Enough, it seems to complete the second stage of the building, at least the shell of it. So watch this space everyone, as we begin to plant our gardens and vegetables, and to grow our future in more ways than one.
Thank you, thank you, thank you once again to everyone (and there are so so many) who have believed in and contributed to this project.

With so much love from Jami and everyone at the Butterfly Centre. But most importantly, the children.


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Magic Butterfly Tree
A labour of love such as the book illustrated and written by Lorraine Quinton does not come along often. It just shows how much love others have for the children. It will be available to read at The Butterfly Centre in the next week ❤
Thanks to our committee for all the hard work and behind the scenes meetings and decision making!
Andrew Herriot, Stephanie Richards, Debbie Taverner Smith, Natalie Snyman, Peter Kastner, Adel Field, Cathryn Herriot
Special thanks to Patrick Campbell, ex officio member who has been handling financial responsibilities.
Welcome Jacqui Engelbert who will be filling the bookkeeping function as we grow and the workload is increasing
Thanks to BDC wireless for installing our Internet and hosting this for free!
Thanks to Chita and her group in Scotland who raised funds for our new chairs and trampoline
Thanks to our regular contributors who help us do what we know who you are!
Hette-lize Marshall for organising the stylish cupboards in our storeroom!
Andre for building our animal enclosure at discounted rate
Grootbos Foundation for providing us with PPE gear
The team from Green Futures for doing our landscaping for ZERO labour cost
The walkers and horse riders who make use of the trails at Stanford Hills for their generous donations
The Herriots and their movie club for their regular contributions
Cathryn Herriot for our gorgeous new chair bags
Those parents who continued to pay full or part fees during lockdown because they were able to
African Horse company for riding lessons for the children
Grootbos Football Foundation for their swimming and sports coaching volunteers
Thank you so much to Marisa Steyn for the creation of our beautiful new website in record time! Please check it out at and let us know your thoughts!

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