Our history

What began with Matron Dorothy Reece taking in an abandoned baby in 1936, has grown through many iterations over the years into the Cotlands of today. We have a proud history spanning some 80 years, and while we acknowledge the changes that have come and gone, our core remained true to our primary goal of caring for children.

Cotlands today stands as a beacon of hope in building a new, better and more successful South Africa by initiating and facilitating innovative, play-based ECD programmes.

Cotlands timeline

Baby Sanctuary

1936

Established by US missionary nursing sister, Matron Dorothy Reece, after finding an abandoned baby on her doorstep

1942
  • Public health department requested Matron Reece to make alterations to the home
  • Due to financial constraints, Matron Reece decided to close the home
  • After an appeal by the Sunday Times raised £4 000, the home was registered as a charitable institution
1952

The home moved to larger premises in Kenilworth. Strict vetting procedures instituted for prospective adoptive parents, due to a national shortage of babies

1953

The sanctuary in Turffontein, Gauteng, was opened

Community-Based Programmes

1993
  • The Cotlands nursery school opened in Turffontein
  • Some residential children were diagnosed with HIV
1996

The Aids hospice at Cotlands opened – the first in SA

1997

Formulated policy guidelines for children infected/affected by HIV/Aids

1998

Initiated community outreach programmes

1999

Home-based care services for HIV babies offered in Soweto, Gauteng and Hlabisa, KwaZulu-Natal

ADDING PSYCHOSOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT TO THE PROGRAMMES

2003
  • Implemented antiretroviral treatment for HIV-positive children
  • Opened second Cotlands hospice in Somerset West, Western Cape
  • Launched Cotlands-Chris Hani Baragwanath HIV/Aids counselling project
2004

Opened Cotlands nutrition project in East London, Eastern Cape

2005

Acquired Macassar Haven in Macassar, Western Cape

2006
  • Cotlands celebrated 70 years
  • Opened Everest early childhood development (ECD) centre near Boschfontein, Mpumalanga
  • Opened Cotlands House in Turffontein, Gauteng
2007

Opened Cotlands community centre in Soweto, Gauteng

2009
  • Opened Tirelong ECD centre in Rustenburg, North West
  • Opened Cotlands’ first toy library in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Acquired property in Reeston, Eastern Cape
2010
  • Macassar Haven became a community centre
  • Opened Cotlands toy libraries in East London and Soweto
2011

ECD centre opened at Macassar Haven community centre

2012
  • Launched Turffontein toy library in collaboration with Save the Children UK
  • All regions adopted the integrated model, allowing them to provide an array of quality services including education, health and psychosocial support
  • In December, Cotlands announced the transformation of the Aids Hospice into the Cotlands Child Care unit due to the drastic reduction in Aids-related deaths

LAUNCHING EARLY LEARNING

2013
  • Early learning playgroup model for newborns to 4 year-olds launched in May
  • Cotlands launched its first mobile toy library in Gauteng, followed by an additional mobile library for Gauteng and one for KwaZulu-Natal
2014
  • Selected as a partner by Ilifa Labantwana to participate in the playgroup social franchise think-tank
  • Cotlands hosted the first Southern Africa play conference
2015
  • Initiated early learning playgroup pilot in partnership with Ilifa Labantwana and Department of Social Development in North West
  • First mobile toy library in Mpumalanga
  • Closure of residential baby units in Gauteng and Western Cape
2016
  • Appointed as regional franchisor for SmartStart in North West
  • Expanded early learning playgroups to Barberton, Mpumalanga
2017

Cotlands head office and Gauteng region move to new premises located at 9 Data Crescent, Ormonde