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...
Dec 18, 2012

GlobalGiving Visits Ikamva Labuntu!

Spending time with the Kiddies in their Classroom
Spending time with the Kiddies in their Classroom

This summer, during my 2-week visit to Cape Town, South Africa, I met up with Jovanna to visit Ikamva's brand new building and get a tour of their early child care development facilities. Boy, was it a treat!

The new building is the new home for their operational base, including:

-- training spaces (where they train local women in early childhood development (ECD))
-- on-site day care (modeled after real-life kiddie classrooms, with glass windows so that instructors can observe and guide play facilitation)
-- counseling offices (for meeting with and updating family members)
-- and a large kitchen that kept producing such yummy food smells, not for me (unfortunately), but for the students and children.

The building is an outstanding achivement shared by the entire community. I surmised from the conversations I had with Jovana, other Ikamva staff, and even an ECD practitioner-in-training that it's really made a huge difference already; the opportunity for the women to practice ECD theory in an actual kindergarten setting, and in their native languages has resulted in increased learning retention (for the ECD practitioners) and receptiveness (on the part of the children).

The most exciting part of my visit was getting to see the lead ECD instructor guide a cohort of caretakers-in-training through a learning/facilitation method: as another play facilitator attended to a group of about 20 kids (aged 1-4) within the glass walls of one of their on-site children's play rooms, 8 women, huddled together, peered through as they listened to the lead instructor observe and comment on the activities. 

It was really fascinating to watch, but even more fun to go in and participate in activities with the childrenm. We played a few games, and I learned the first two lines of a children's song in Xhosa (though, admittedly, the children sang way better than I did).

After spending some time at the childcare center, Jovana took me to visit several other sites Ikamva supports, including an informal day care center in one of the townships (run by a really sweet older lady), and their very own community space for Elders, where older women can play games, read books, and do aerobics. In fact, a contingent of grannies was away that day because they were competing in some physical games in another township.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Ikamva, and was so inspired by the passion and dedication of every single person I met. They're an organization that's creating real change within the communities they serve, by supporting leadership from within. For the sake of the children and young women I met, who have no doubt been touched by Ikamva's dedication, I'm so thankful that they exist.

ECD Class, Peeking into Playtime in Session
ECD Class, Peeking into Playtime in Session
Young Women Learn ECD in their Native Tongue
Young Women Learn ECD in their Native Tongue
Singing Time!
Singing Time!
Dec 12, 2012

A success story from Ikamva Labantu's Kwakhanya Early Childhood Learning Centre

Happy faces
Happy faces

There are very limited opportunities for young South African children from disadvantaged township communities to have access to early childhood education. Pervasive poverty and unemployment have made the opening of a pre-school an attractive opportunity for income generation for women in these communities.  However, the vast majority of these women has no experience or training in the field and is unable to help the children develop intellectually and emotionally.  Further, their “schools” are under-resourced and do not comply with basic standards of health and safety.

Ikamva Labantu has responded to the situation over 40 years by providing training and resources for pre-school owners so that they are able to reach a stage where the government will register and subsidise them. We have now developed our training programme even further with the opening of our Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Khayelitsha township dedicated to education and support of pre-school practitioners. The centre is named Kwakhanya which means “moving from darkness into light.  It provides the setting for training ECD practitioners to understand child development and learning and the opportunity to apply this theoretical knowledge in a real “live” pre-school which also operates in the centre.

Lindiwe from the Little Bird Educare Centre attends the programme at Kwakhanya. Her school was visited by Ikamva Labantu staff members before the training and the sad “before” picture emerged.  There are six practitioners at the school and 97 children. After the course, and with encouragement and further site visits, significant changes had taken place.

“Before”: Some of the major defects

The school was lacking in resources, especially for the number of children. There was no separation between the play areas for the different age groups. Unhappily, there were no active play or creative areas for children to engage in learning through play, and children’s handiwork was not displayed. Storage for items was lacking and there was a general sense of disarray.

Health issues and hygiene were also a problem with water for handwashing being re-used, an unsterilised sandpit, no first aid box and no sickbay or isolation area. From the safety point of view, there were no safety policies available or displayed, no evacuation procedure in place and only one fire extinguisher with no one trained to use it.

“After”: Significant progress has been made since the commencement of the ECD experiential training in April this year.  

There is now a sense of order at Little Bird pre-school. The children have been separated according to the different age groups and the active play areas have been clearly signed.

Children’s work is being displayed and resources have been appropriately stored. The wall areas are now well used. A daily programme on the activities and routines as well as a daily menu are clearly visible. Policies have been pasted up.

From the hygiene point of view, things have improved considerably. Clean hand washing water is available for children to wash their hands during routine times. The person changing the nappies is observing the universal precautions and wearing gloves and the nappy change area is clearly signposted and moved away from food preparation areas.

Most important of all, Lindiwe is happy and enjoying her job and so do the other staff members at Little Bird. The children in their care now have better facilities available to them and are in a pre-school where their growth, both intellectual and emotional, their stimulation and their hygiene and safety are taken care of.

Your support of this project will assist another woman to improve her skills as a pre-school practitioner so that she is able to provide an environment for children conducive to their growth and learning. The value to our communities and to the future is immeasurable.

A daily programme displayed on the wall
A daily programme displayed on the wall
A designated play area
A designated play area
Improved tidiness and hygiene
Improved tidiness and hygiene


Sep 5, 2012

Teacher training is underway

Teachers taking part in experiential learning
Teachers taking part in experiential learning

Teacher training at Ikamva Labantu’s Kwakhanya Early Childhood Learning Centre

Kwakhanya means moving from darkness into light and our new centre in Khayelitsha does just that.  It provides the setting for training Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners to understand child development and learning and the opportunity to apply this theoretical knowledge in a real “live” pre-school which also operates in the centre.

Kwakhanya launched in April this year and the training is well underway with trainee practitioners coming from selected pre-schools in the surrounding townships. The first course in basic ECD skills with 20 trainees concluded in June. Besides training in childhood development, other relevant topics included illiteracy, poor health, poverty, HIV/AIDS, children’s and women’s rights, child abuse and protection and minimum standards for ECD provision.

This same group of trainees has now embarked on the second part of their programme in Babies and Toddlers Development and Care.  This provides information and practical experience in the psychological, emotional and social development of babies and toddlers, including feeding, adult/child interaction and the importance of play.

A second group of 20 trainees started a programme in Support, Mentoring and Coaching at the beginning of June. This training includes facilitation and mediation techniques, understanding stages of childhood development, designing indoor and outdoor classrooms, learning outcomes and assessment standards.

A Language Enrichment programme given by our resident speech therapist started at the end of May. This is designed to enhance practitioners’ knowledge of the importance of language development and stimulation in pre-schools. Practical workshops develop skills to transfer to the classroom.


The pre-school on site is a model school where trainees can practice their newly learnt skills in a real educational environment before returning to their own pre-schools. We currently have 45 children, aged 0 to 6, attending the school and accommodated in 3 well-equipped classrooms. These children have been selected from Ikamva Labantu’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme.  In this way, we are able to enhance our existing services to the families that we support and address the children’s developmental needs at the same time.

Your support in this project is helping us to make a vital difference not only to the development of pre-school teachers, but also to the lives of those children in their care whose potential can be realised through appropriate stimulation and learning.

Language enrichment programme
Language enrichment programme
An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?