Brightly Beams Educare is an early childhood development center based at Christian Assemblies Church in Lavender Hill, Cape Town. It was the dream of Pastor Gerald and Colleen Wildschutt. Lavender Hill is renowned for the abuse of drugs and alcohol, with many young children and teenagers turning to a life of gangsterism, often out of need for a sense of family and belonging.

At Brightly Beams, they are fighting against hopelessness by providing young children with an education, food, and a safe place to play out of harms way. They love on every single child that walks through their doors and speak life and love over each one.

The goal of Brightly Beams is to give these young children the elementary skills and knowledge they need to thrive at school. They are taught things like colors and shapes, about their bodies, their families, and transportation—to mention just a few. 

Most of the children that go to the preschool are taken there by their parents, who are not able to look after their children during the day as they are often working to provide for their families. With an unemployment rate of around 30% in South Africa, a stable job is not always as easy as it sounds to obtain, and so, having a safe place to take children while parents work is part of building a better future for the community as a whole!

The children arrive early in the morning and are provided with two hot meals throughout the day as well as educational crafts and skills needed for children ages 2-5 years old.  All of this is made possible through school fees owed by parents. Pastor Gerald and Colleen must pay for food for the children, materials for crafts and schoolwork, as well as the teachers’ salaries. Often, however, there aren’t enough school fees coming in to cover all of the costs associated with running Brightly Beams.

The heart of this organization has always been to serve the community, and as such, school fees are made as low as possible to allow as many children as possible the chance to receive the love, safety, family, and education they get from the Brightly Beams team. 

For as little as $700 per year ($60 per month), a child can attend Brightly Beams, where he or she will be taught by loving, engaged teachers and fed healthy food to counter the malnutrition they may experience at home. They are also treated to a field trip once a year to somewhere outside of their community (something few children in Lavender Hill have experienced) and to a Christmas Party at the end of the year to celebrate the holiday season.

We would love you to partner with Brightly Beams and Yebo Life in helping sponsor a child’s education—either for the year or part thereof. Each donation counts and allows the preschool to become more financially stable, provide better materials and curriculum to the children, and grow in capacity to be able to cater to more of our precious children who are destined to be our leaders of tomorrow!

Meet the Team

Colleen Wildschutt

Title: Co-Founder & Principal

Born: Rondebosch, Cape Town

Colleen met Jesus 35 years ago and got married a year later to Pastor Gerald Wildschutt. Together, they started Brightly Beams in 2006 after God told Colleen to help the community. She wanted to support local parents and provide a safe place for children, as many of them come from an underprivileged background. On a daily basis, she is responsible for teaching the 3-4 year-old class. Colleen loves the outdoors. She enjoys seeing new places and doing new things. In 2016, she traveled to Israel on a missions trip.

Jane Philander

Title: Teacher

Born: Retreat, Cape Town

Jane started working at Brightly Beams in 2012, before she studied to be a teacher. Since then, she's received her teaching qualification and currently instructs the 4-5 year-old class. Jane is high-energy and loves the outdoors. She enjoys going hiking and teaching spiritual dancing.

Monica Smith

Title: Cook/Chef

Born: Parkwood, Cape Town

Monica also started working at Brightly Beams in 2012 and is the head of the kitchen! She is responsible for making all of the children two warm meals each day. Monica loves the outdoors and has a kind spirit.

Pastor Gerald Wildschutt

Title: Co-Founder

Born: Grassy Park, Cape Town

Pastor Gerald has been leading Christian Assemblies Church for 32 years. He's passionate about people, and his aim is always to improve the lives of those in his community. He's grateful for the Lord and the way He has brought Colleen and himself from humble beginnings to where they are today. He looks forward to trusting God to continue with the work He has for them. Pastor Gerald also loves the outdoors and enjoys camping.