Ikamva Labantu

For nearly 50 years Ikamva Labantu has transformed the lives of people profoundly affected by injustice and poverty. The work of Ikamva Labantu has evolved over time to address the changing political, economic and health environment. With the deep humanity, resilience, love and spirit of "ubuntu" of its people, Ikamva Labantu supports, mobilises and empowers communities by building their capacity through knowledge and resources and enabling community members to live independent and fulfilled lives. Ikamva Labantu is a registered non-profit organisation whose approach is to work closely with the most vulnerable groups so they can become independent and thrive. Today, Ikamva Laban...
Feb 27, 2014

2013 review: Ikamva Labantu's Early Childhood Development Programme

One of the children supported by Ikamva Labantu
One of the children supported by Ikamva Labantu

Principal and practitioner training programme

Historically, pre-schools in townships are overcrowded, under resourced poorly managed and lack the required stimulation for the children in their care. Ikamva Labantu took up the challenge and in 2012 began a Principals and Practitioners Training Programme which saw both the principals the teachers in township pre-schools receiving training and support.

Now in its second year, the programme evokes enthusiastic responses from our participants who tell of how the training has helped them run and manage their pre-schools better while others have enjoyed formal pre-school teacher training for the first time in twenty years. Currently we are training 64 practitioners and 30 new principals from the community who attend regular training sessions at the Kwakhanya ECD Centre in Khayelitsha. Collectively, these practitioners and principals touch the lives of no less than 4 000 children every year.

The 9 principals who were trained in Year 1 have graduated to Year 2 training and are benefiting from the more in-depth subject matter pertaining to labour law practices, governance and the understanding what a learning programme entails. They are also learning about good leadership, fundraising and financial management and how it relates to running an effective pre-school.

Practitioners’ training covers the areas of the cognitive, physical, emotional and social developmental needs of babies and children. We have found approximately 90% attendance each month and we attribute this to the holistic support we provide the practitioners by way of a stipend for transport, payment for replacement teachers while others are on training and a light lunch for participatant on training days.

We are working closely with the Department of Education and the Department of Social Development and we envisage that our course will be fully registered by the end of this financial year.


Registration Help Desk Programme

Initiated in September 2013, a Coordinator and eight community based workers operate a Help Desk at the Kwakhanya ECD Centre to assist owners of local pre-schools to meet the regulated standards set out by the Department of Social Development to either achieve or maintain their registration and subsidised states. In three months we have assisted 20 pre-schools through this difficult and intricate process.


Language enrichment programme

Poor speech development is commonplace. This is often due to insufficient verbal stimulation. This programme delivers content that stimulates the developing mind’s cognitive and language skills which in turn, promotes communication between the child, the practitioner and the parent. Teachers have also noted that children now communicate more freely in class. Many practitioners and parents have commented that this programme has made a remarkable difference in the way that they relate to their children.


Special Educational Needs (SEN) programme

Cerebral Palsy , Downes Syndrome and learning disabilities are major obstacles for many children who’s conditions often remain undiagnosed for extended periods of time. We have an active database of children who have been identified, referred and successfully managed or who are still within the referral system. This year we have assisted 96 children by accessing the relevant services.

Parenting Programme

In order to re-enforce and strengthen the relationship between child and parent or care-giver we will present a Parenting Programme which commence in February 2014 Some of the topics to be included are child / parent relationships, the power of effective communication methods, health issues pertaining to young children and the importance of high self esteem. This eight week course will train 15 participants per session and groups will be held at the Harare Library in Khayelitsha.

The Pre-schools Upgrade Project

We are delighted to have been selected by the Department of Social Development to be one of the five NGOs working on the “upgrade project”. From the total of 280 pre-schools in the project, Ikamva Labantu has been allocated 55 sites in Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Mitchells Plain areas. The Registration Help Desk team has the upgrade project under their wing with the goal to assist the 55 pre-schools to meet the minimum standards for registration as ECD sites by the Department of Social Development. The service delivery encapsulates minor structural upgrades and the training of the Management Committees and Principals in Governance. Once registered, these pre-schools will receive a government subsidy for each child at their school. This injection of additional finance will assist schools to remain financially viable for longer and will aid principals and teachers to pay better wages to their staff, attract more children and provide better services to those in their care.

Training of the teachers
Training of the teachers
Eye testing
Eye testing
Jun 19, 2013

Ikamva Labantu improves language skills in pre-schoolers

Training  teachers in  language development
Training teachers in language development

Our aim is not only to foster literacy, but also to promote and encourage the creativity and whole brained thinking that leads to all great, world-changing ideas.

Pre-school children in the townships of Cape Town are greatly disadvantaged in many ways.  If they are lucky, they have homes where, even though living in poverty, they are surrounded with loving nurturing adults who care for them deeply. For most of these children, however, their  access to books and reading is minimal and furthermore, their home language is Xhosa and they have limited exposure to English. This means that they miss out on those first crucial years where the brain develops and sets the foundation for future learning and optimal development.

Ikamva Labantu has a multi-pronged approach towards promoting literacy and language development amongst the young children in its Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes. Firstly, we train pre-school teachers in the basics of language and communication and to apply these principles in the classrooms with exercises and games. We also train the teachers and community-based workers to recognize and identify language difficulties that children may have.  

Secondly, we have started a programme in on-line literacy training for pre-schoolers who are at an ECD centre in one of our community hubs. This has proved to be so successful that it will be rolled out to other centres during the year.

Thirdly, Ikamva Labantu has partnered with an organisation, Humanwrit.es to address this issue.  Humanwrit.es produces notebooks called Writables For each Writable sold, 10 workbooks are donated to pre-school children. These books are specially designed for the youngest members of the community. The aim is to instill a passion for reading and learning during their earliest years. In May 2013, the workbooks from the first edition of the Writable were donated to 20 000 children in over 200 ECD centres that form part of the Ithemba Labantwana community forum, operated under the umbrella of Ikamva Labantu.

Your support of this project will enable us to supply much needed resources to pre-schools in the Cape Town townships. These will enable teachers to stimulate children and provide them with the necessary language development skills to learn effectively and perform better at school.

See the heartwarming  video of Ikamva Labantu children receiving Humanwrit.es workbooks on http://humanwrit.es/giving-back/

Pre-schoolers with their new workbooks
Pre-schoolers with their new workbooks
Mar 11, 2013

Early Childhood Development: Ikamva Labantu's work with pre-schools in Cape Town communities

Mavis Ngoncolo Principal of Injongo pre-school
Mavis Ngoncolo Principal of Injongo pre-school

Early Childhood Development: How Ikamva Labantu helps pre-schools achieve the necessary registration to receive government subsidies

For most children in South Africa, life is a constant struggle from a very young age.  Services in quality early childhood development is poor and these children go to school without the basics necessary for them to thrive, learn and develop into adults with full potential. Ikamva Labantu has a comprehensive Early Childhood Development programme which seeks to address this problem in a holistic manner which includes teachers, parents and children and provides a sustainable solution to the problem.

There are 200 pre-schools that operate within the Ikamva Labantu umbrella of which only 40% are registered and receive state subsidies.  Registration requires, for instance, certain levels of teacher qualification, teacher to learner ratios, physical structures, policy adherence and resources. This is an enormously complicated cumbersome process for principals to navigate and thus, Ikamva Labantu works with the schools to achieve these standards and to set the registration process in motion.

Part of the process has been alleviated by the realization of our vision of creating a place of learning, development and support for pre-school principals, teachers and parents from disadvantaged communities. Kwakhanya, the Early Childhood Learning Centre, launched in early 2012 has been running successful experiential training programmes for teachers. Recently, a principals’  programme has been added, designed to enhance good governance and compliance with registration requirements. The on-site model school is flourishing with children showing positive developmental progress.

One of the pre-school principals on the Ikamva Labantu training programme is Mavis Ngcongolo. In January 2008, struck by the number of neglected, unsupervised toddlers and young children that she saw in the streets of her neighbourhood in  Mfuleni township, Mavis gathered six of them in her home and started to feed them and look after them with her husband’s earnings paying for food and other material needs. This initiative became the Injongo (“My Wish”) Pre-school (Educare) and by 2012, 80 children attend it daily. 

Injongo does not meet the government minimum standards for registration:  the structure is too small for the number of children and in poor condition. The necessary registration documents are required to be displayed on the walls, but these quickly become soaked because of the humidity in the rooms. Several documents are not up-to-date nor in place at all.  Daily menus and programmes are produced although these need adjustments from a logistical and healthy eating point of view. There is only one cot for the babies and the other children share 19 uncovered mattresses that are not able to be cleaned regularly. There are few toys or educational materials available. The five staff members are too few for the number of children.

Despite all these seemingly insurmountable problems, Mavis provides a safe and loving environment for the children. She makes do on the monthly fee of R100 ( $12/£7.7) per child which only some parents can afford to pay. She provides two meals a day and pays five assistants a basic salary.  Her husband has been retrenched and she does not have his salary any longer to rely upon. Further, she is used as a drop-in centre for vulnerable children, who often end up staying with her indefinitely, being fed, taken to health care facilities and, most important, provided with affection.

Mavis is learning to address many of the issues above in the Principal’s training programme.  We also work closely with Mavis to address her other challenges and we are trying to raise funds for the material needs that she has.

There are many other pre-school principals in similar situations to Mavis. Your support for Ikamva Labantu can make a world of difference to them and to their children who so desperately need stimulation, developmental input, sustenance and safety.

Injongo Children sleeping
Injongo Children sleeping
Injongo pre-school children
Injongo pre-school children


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