Bulungula Incubator in South Africa: Pursuing a holistic approach

Millions of children in Africa live on the edge of poverty. The Bulungula Incubator, supported by the Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation, initiates early childhood education in numerous remote villages and pursues a sustainable development approach.

Children of Bulungula Incubator

The children of Bulungula Incubator

Bulungula Incubator – Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education marks the start for a better life

Bulungula Incubator – Harvesting lemongrass

Supporting sustainable harvesting of lemongrass

Bulungula Incubator – a hairdresser as micro-enterprise

A hairdresser for the villages

Bulungula Incubator – Perspectives for children

The children benefit from the schooling measures

Harsh living conditions prevail in the Eastern Cape region: No access to electricity and potable water as well as high rates of child mortality and illiteracy. The village of Nqileni is one of the poorest and most remote in South Africa and home to about 800 people. Since 2007, the Bulungula Incubator, a nonprofit organization, is located there and plays an important role in improving the dire situation, and organising early childhood education.

To solve their problems independently in the future, the villagers need support on various levels. A central goal of the Bulungula Incubator is to combat illiteracy. The organization thus encourages the development of early childhood education and further education. As a result of years of work and commitment, the Bulungula Incubator now provides home based Early Childhood development (ECD), centre-based pre-schools, after-school activities and supports government primary schools towards improving access to quality education for the many children in Nqileni and the four neighbouring villages in the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area.

Commitment beyond education: Stimulating community development

But not only schooling measures lay the foundation for a better life in the Eastern Cape region. The Bulungula Incubator is also committed to progressing the health and nutrition situation. When the organization was launched, there was no local access to medical services. Through the organizations efforts, the community now has access to a local Health Point, monthly voluntary HIV testing and counselling facilities and customised home based health care. The project continuously employs all means on-site to help the villagers with the development of water sources and renewable energies.

Finding synergies between the traditional African lifestyle and external technologies and innovations is crucial for the organization. In this respect, educational work is of great importance on each level: Workshops on sustainable farming, first aid courses or financial advice. The people of the villages benefit greatly from this integrated approach. Guidance by the organization makes the establishment of numerous micro-enterprises possible. The intense local activities have brought about many jobs: Over 60% of households in the region receive an income that is connected to the efforts of the Bulungula Incubator.

With the hands-on support of the organization so far 6000 people could be reached. In collaboration with the government, other NGOs as well as with financial supporters like Deutsche Bank, the Bulungula Incubator continues to advance the communal development in one of the poorest regions in South Africa.


“Today I am a teacher for young children. This project has put me in a better place, I am my family’s hope because of Bulungula Incubator, that is why I say Bulungula Incubator is my life.”

Nokonwaba Mbi ECD practitioner

Sustainable support

60 Percent

of the households in the region receive an income connected to the efforts of Bulungula Incubator

“This place gave me a job and today I can feed my children. This project helped me because I did not know anything about the books and library; it has brought some light in my life and my mind.”

Nokholo Bless Librarian
Nquileni – Home to the programme Bulungula Incubator

Back-to-School: Deutsche Bank employees volunteer in schools

Next to the Bulungula Incubator, Deutsche Bank is also involved in other projects in South Africa. The Back-to-School for a Day event for example is a national event, where staff of companies are encouraged to go back to school for a day and spend time with learners in South Africa`s most disadvantaged schools.

After a successful event in 2012, the Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation returned to Observatory Girls Primary School and organised for staff members to be a support teacher at the school, located in the poorer section of the inner city of Johannesburg.

“The Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation believes that the gift of literacy is a gift for life. Each volunteer makes an impression on the children and walks away, humbled by their experience in the classroom. It is an honour and a privilege to be part of this initiative.”

Kirsten Koetsier Head of the Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation

You might be interested in

This website uses cookies in order to improve user experience. If you close this box or continue browsing, we will assume you agree with this. For more information about the cookies we use or to find out how you can disable cookies, click here.