Thanda's After-school project starts with five-year-old's, but by this point 90% of brain development has already taken place. In order to support their development from an earlier age, we started an Early Childhood Development (ECD) program in 2016 with 20 children. In 2017 we are expanding our ECD program to 60 children and need additional equipment and support. Your donations will enable us to extend our services to these youngest members in our community and make a lasting impact.
Currently, 60% of South African children are born into impoverished families, and many of those families lack access to the proper knowledge and resources to rear the next generation of healthy, productive, and engaged adults. Moreover, less than 16% of children in KwaZulu-Natal have access to ECD Programmes and 21% of children in rural areas are mentally and physically stunted due to lack of proper nutrition, while many suffer unnoticed from preventable and treatable diseases.
Research indicates that intervention at the earliest point in an at-risk child's life holds the best opportunity for having the deepest and longest lasting effects. Building on the success of our After-school Programme model, our ECD Programme will offer a stimulating, arts-based curriculum adapted to the developmental needs of children ages 2-4 and a feeding scheme to supply children with proper nutrition to fuel learning. For now, they will use areas of the counselling room and art centre.
By creating a programme for children ages 2-4, we can begin rectifying many of the adverse conditions these children face at an even earlier age. Our ECD Programme creates meaningful change by providing care and education to the very young and their caretakers so that they may thrive in their communities.