Pniel resident Kirstin Bengston is married and a mother of three. She used to work at an agricultural company. However, she felt like she wasn’t fulfilling her life goals.

“It was a big step for me to believe that I will be accepted in the programme,” Bengston says. “I was amazed when I got the news!”

She signed up for Bergzicht’s Child Care Programme and successfully completed her work-integrated living (WIL) at Petite Pre-Primary in Pniel. After earning her certificate in December last year, she began impacting young lives at Kleine Diamantjies Creche in Kylemore. Since January 2022, she has been working there as a class teacher of children between the ages of nine months and three years.

“Bergzicht has made a really great impact on my life. The iPOWER Foundation Course has helped me to believe in myself and put an end to my negative thinking. I realised I can achieve something.” During the Usiko camp, Bengston had the opportunity to reflect and speak her mind to a mentor and support circle about what was holding her back.

She explained how domestic violence in her community poses many challenges to self-actualisation, in both her own story and that of the children she has at heart. As her own childhood made her feel very negative about life. However, she is determined to help children get the right mindset from a young age. “Children are the future and I can help them to outgrow their difficult circumstances. I do love working with them!”

Bengston especially enjoyed the artwork component of the course. The background on childhood development also proved to be very helpful on a day to day basis. She explains how interaction with children can help one see when there is something deeper that is troubling them. Her aim is to respond in such a way that they feel loved.

Kleine Diamantjies Creche Principal Ms Clara Benjamin says Bengston is excellent at her job, bringing much comfort to the parents. “Kirstin really cares a lot for the children and always puts their interests first. Her passion is tangible as she prioritises her work above all.” Benjamin also commends Bengston on her tidiness and her exceptional time management.

Today Bengston feels assured that she can maintain my success in life. She feels more positive and empowered to reach out. “You are never too old to learn or to do something with your life you are proud of. All you have to do is to get your mindset right,” she says. Currently writing a book about her life experience, she aspires to embark on motivational speaking to help others to follow their dreams.

Bergzicht Training and Development & Development’s Child Care Programme is a 13-week elective, with an optional Level 1 First Aid certificate course. WIL opportunities take place at Educare institutions. Students are empowered with skills in preparing balanced meals, using recycled materials for creative activities and being knowledgeable about childhood development, child abuse and school readiness, among other topics. Many of our qualified students obtain work at crèches, as day care mothers, as childminders or au pairs.