Following a family trip to South Africa that included a visit to Henna Pre-School in 2009, in the Mpumalanga area, North East of the country, the Bertarelli family decided to sponsor a new wing in the school facilities dedicated to its youngest students; 2 years later the Foundation supported the construction of a small medical facility.
Henna Pre-School first started in 1991 and was named after one of the Indunas of the Huntington Community. The school initially used mud-walled buildings for infrastructure and since the turn of the century better facilities have been built and the number of children attending the school has risen sharply to 140.
The objective of Henna Pre-School is to provide schooling and education for children under the age of five who live within the Huntington Community, many of them orphans. The goal is to provide the children with basic skills in the English language, games, songs, and pre-school education in their mother tongue, Tsonga, and to provide disadvantaged children with two meals a day while at school.
According to the South African Census Department, the average income per household in Huntington (where the pre-school is located) is $25 per month (R174). This in itself explains the plight of the children in this area.