Apr 9, 2018

Topsy Appoints a New Executive Director

Dr. Ewa Skowronska
Dr. Ewa Skowronska

Dr. Ewa Skowronska has been appointed as the executive director at The Topsy Foundation NPC. The Foundation’s mission is to provide disadvantaged rural communities with the support and tools needed to raise happy, healthy and capable children. The Topsy Foundation aims to provide the opportunity for these children to thrive, regardless of where they come from.

With the aim of breaking the cycle of poverty and empower rural communities, the Topsy Foundation leverages community assets for sustainable change.  This is done through a holistic set of services which includes education (early childhood development and inclusive education); food security (vegetable gardens); health (health screening, primary care medication, x-rays, hearing and vision testing); and psycho-social support. (counselling and referrals).

Dr. Skowronska trained as a Medical Doctor and Master of Public Health specialist (MD/MPH) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and will be responsible for strategic and operational direction at The Topsy Foundation and overall technical support for Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme that is being implemented in three districts in Mpumalanga.

Before joining The Topsy Foundation, Dr. Skowronska worked at mothers2mothers as Senior Technical Advisor providing strategic direction, technical leadership and operational oversight to seven Country Offices in sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. Her  areas of responsibility included Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) related to HIV. At mothers2mothers she worked in tandem with a wide continuum of external partners and stakeholders, such as donors, national governments, private-public partnerships and civil society.

Prior to that, Dr Skowronska worked with the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative in Malawi as a Paediatric HIV/AIDS Manager. In this capacity she developed, and implemented programs supporting national efforts in scaling-up PMTCT and Paediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment, at a national and district level.

 During her career with Pharmacia/Pfizer as a medical director her diverse portfolio enabled her to gain extensive knowledge about clinical research and development, as well as managerial experience in fast-paced multinational and multidisciplinary environments. 

“We are delighted to have Dr Skowronska join our team,” says Sarah du Toit, Development Manager at The Topsy Foundation, “her extensive skillset, expertise and experience in the development sector are a great asset to our organisation. We have some very exciting new ventures in the pipeline for 2018 that she will spearhead, which will springboard our initiatives and efficacy into new realms.”

About The Topsy Foundation NPC

The Topsy Foundation NPC, which was established in 2000, is a fully-registered and internationally-respected South African Non-Profit Organisation which provides relief services to some of South Africa’s most under-resourced communities.

The Topsy Foundation partners with three communities in the sub-district of Dipaleseng, Mpumalanga.  Activities take place from a central project site called the Topsy Health and Stimulation Centre which is established as a focal point for the surrounding communities.  This area, often referred to as a forgotten part of the country, due to its scant infrastructure and lack of large-scale industry, is home to several large rural communities situated around the towns of Balfour, Grootvlei and Greylingstad.


Sarah du Toit | Development Manager | The Topsy Foundation NPC          

Ogilvy & Mather, 15 Sloane Street, Bryanston, Johannesburg

E-mail: sarah.dutoit@ogilvy.co.za

Tel: +27 11 709 6678 


Jan 10, 2018

Another Successful Year of ECD Teacher Training

Topsy Foundation ECD Centre Principals
Topsy Foundation ECD Centre Principals

At Topsy, it’s our mission to provide disadvantaged rural communities with the support and tools needed to raise happy, healthy and capable children. We strive to achieve this through our Early Childhood Development Programme. The programme goals are:

  1. To ensure that children are healthy, safe and ready to start school
  2. To provide children an opportunity to develop through play and creative activities
  3. To encourage active community involvement in the education and care of young children through an integrated and holistic approach to their developmental needs

One of the many services offered through this programme, is the training of day care centre principals and practitioners in rural Mpumalanga, South Africa.

2017 was the third year of the practitioner training, facilitated by our partner, The ASHA Trust. Twelve of our ECD centre principals successfully completed the training, which was broken down into the following four modules throughout the year:

Module 1: How children develop and learn.

Learning outcomes:

  • Identify three ‘ages and stages’ of child development: babies, toddlers and young children
  • Describe domains or main areas of child development: Physical, social and emotional and cognitive (language and thinking)
  • Recognise that children develop as a whole and that developmental domains are interrelated i.e. fit closely together.
  • Recognise that every child is an individual and that each child will grow in their own pace.

Module 2: Physical development

Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe the general stages of physical development
  • Describe how different factors could impact upon physical development
  • Ability to support the physical development of babies, toddlers and young children

Module 3: Social and emotional Development

Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe how relationships with adults and children develop and are expressed
  • Identify factors needed for healthy social development
  • Describe how different factors could impact upon social and emotional development

Module 4: Cognitive development

Leaning Outcomes:

  • Describe the kinds of creative and critical thinking that can be expected from children at different developmental stages
  • Explain how to support the cognitive and language development of babies, toddlers and young children
  • Describe the kinds of verbal and non-verbal communication that can be expected from children at different developmental stages

On 10th November 2017 a graduation ceremony was held for all 2017 ASHA Trust learners and Topsy was honoured to be included in this auspicious event. The guest speakers congratulated the graduates for persevering to the end of the programme, as well as being instruments of change in the lives of the children in our communities.

One of Topsy’s principals, Ms Agnes Gqoboka from Tholulwazi Day Care Centre, was selected to give a speech at the event. Agnes spoke about how the child development course had positively impacted her knowledge and understanding of children’s developmental needs as well as how they can enhance their development. There was much singing and celebration and a performance was given by children from Mini Busy Bodies Day Care Centre.

Congratulations to all the graduating principals and the Topsy ECD programme staff, and a huge thank you for their hard work and commitment. We look forward to working with a new intake of principals in 2018 and having another impactful year of training.

Ms Agnes Gqoboka Receiving her Certificate
Ms Agnes Gqoboka Receiving her Certificate
Busy Bodies Day Care Centre Performance
Busy Bodies Day Care Centre Performance


Oct 5, 2017

Three in Top Ten

Our Three Excellent Learners
Our Three Excellent Learners

We would like to introduce you to three amazing leaners, Rethabile, Boitumelo and Thando. These three girls attend our Afterschool Programme. They have been receiving support with homework and regular lessons in English, Maths and Life Skills, from Teacher Nyenge, for nearly two years now.

All 3 of them have been awarded certificates of achievement being within the top 10 students for overall academic performance at their school.

Teacher Nyenge said "The girls are rejoicing, this has made them even more determined to work harder. It was positive reinforcement indeed."

We are so proud of their growth, and pleased are that our work is having impact. We hope their success continues throughout their school career and beyond.

Proudly showing off her certificate
Proudly showing off her certificate


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