Dr. Jill Biden at the Mapetla Day Care Centre in Soweto

Dr. Jill Biden at the Mapetla Day Care Centre in Soweto

submitted by Themba Mathebula, Development Outreach Communications Assistant, USAID South Africa

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, visited the Mapetla Day Care Centre in Soweto, on her arrival in South Africa yesterday. The centre is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID. Mapetla Day Care provides care and early education for 102 orphans and vulnerable children, including life skills development and preparation for primary school.

During her visit, Dr. Biden met the ecstatic children and staff. The centre’s principal Thabo Baloyi said “I’m very humbled to have met the U.S Second Lady and appreciate the support from the American people through USAID.” The U.S. Second Lady also met Kami, the HIV-positive muppet from Takalani Sesame, South Africa’s version of Sesame Street. USAID’s education program had supported development of Takalani Sesame for South Africa. South Africa was the first country to adapt Sesame
Street for radio broadcast to benefit children, teachers, families and caregivers.

Together Dr. Biden and Kami distributed soccer balls to the children in celebration of South Africa hosting the first World Cup on the African continent.

Dr. Biden has been an English teacher for the past 29 years and also worked as a community activist with a special focus on literacy and support for military families programs. The Biden family is in South Africa for the official opening of the 2010 FIFA world cup and will also attend USA’s game against England in Rustenburg on Saturday, 12 June 2010.