Dear VPUU Supporter and Friend,
You did it! With your help we have been able to achieve so much this year.
At the beginning of this year we have started a call for action: #ECD4ALL children between 0 and 6 years in Monwabisi Park. Our team has worked very hard with the community, parents, teachers and other stakeholders to turn this vision into reality. We have
- hired 4 additional teachers and will appoint 8 more by the end of this month. This means more manpower to take on more children.
- trained all our teachers in the Unlimited Child Curriculum and 1st 1000days and pre-grade R Programme
- conducted an Enumeration Survey of all children and pregnant mothers in Monwabisi Park. This assists with recruitment of children and increase awareness for the importance of ECD.
- solidified our relationship with the community, parents and the ECD Forum to work jointly on an ECD Strategy for Monwabisi Park
- continued working with the local Manzi Garden Group to offer ECD children healthy food and the opportunity to be part of the Bokhasi and Food Waste Programme
- started the process of international registration for our Active Box Toy Library
- started a partnership with Power of Play – an online learning platform for parents and teachers to learn how to stimulate and play with children
- initiated a relationship with Innovation Edge and will soon be the partner on the ground to test newest Virtual Reality (VR) Technology for ECD programmes
Our journey with GlobalGiving has been amazing! We have connected with so many passionate people like yourself who are committed to ensuring children get access to quality ECD programmes. We have decided to move off the GlobalGiving platform and use our website, and social media platforms to share stories, keep you updated, and fundraise. We are also starting a monthly newsletter which we would love you to join here.
Once again, we thank you making real change possible in the lives of some many children.
We’ll be in touch soon.
Isabel and George
If you want to stay connected please subscribe to our newsletter here.
Meet Nosipho, a young enthusiastic woman from Monwabisi Park!
Her love for children coupled by her passion for Community Development has led to her 11 years of service in the field of Early Childhood Development (ECD). She initially started off as a volunteer at her son’s pre-school in the suburbs of Woodstock in Cape Town. After experiencing the development of young children she dreamed that the children in her community too could be developed in the same manner. This led her to join the Open Air Classroom - Emthonjeni - programme in Monwabisi Park 3 years ago.
Nosipho is currently studying for her diploma in ECD and now started her very own centre. On a daily basis she is witness to the hunger and poverty in her community. Her experience has taught her that children cannot learn and grow with empty stomachs. She decided to seek sustainable solutions to provide meals for the children in the Emthonjeni Programme.
Together with a group of garden enthusiasts, Nosipho started the gardening project Manzi Garden just behind the Neighbourhood Centre in Monwabisi Park, where the ECD programmes are taking place. They encourage children and parents from the Emthonjeni programme to bring in their food waste in order to make Bokashi - a form of compost. The produce that grows is used to feed children in the Emthonjeni programme.
Nosipho and her team did not realize the remarkable contribution their programme is having on the children and families in the community. It is through their efforts that parent and child interaction has increased, parents have become so much more aware of ECD and its importance. And most of all there is local, healthy produce available to provide meals for children so that they may learn more effectively.
The team is seeking to expand their project and work tirelessly day to day to ensure the sustainability of their programme. They are also hoping to sell produce to local stores to bring in revenue into their project to increase its reach and sustainability.
We believe in ECD4All as every child has the right to education. Investing in great teachers is key to unlocking the potential of all our children. To make this possible, we have partnered with The Unlimited Child.
In March this year, 8 of our ECD Teachers went on a 5 day Unlimited Child Training Programme. The programme aims to improve classroom practice by providing the teachers with foundational knowledge of early childhood education and solid understanding on the practical implementation of a variety of play based activities. Teachers also receive a comprehensive kit comprising of a variety of educational toys and resources that serve as learning tools to support the holistic development of children.
Who is the Unlimited Child?
The Unlimited Child is a South African Durban-based early childhood education organisation that is focussed on ensuring that young children in the 0-5-year age cohort, have access to quality, sustainable early childhood education and care so that they can develop to their full educational and personal potential. They work with a tried, tested and proven model which includes 4 age-appropriate toolkits, a practitioner guides, caregiver training and ongoing support as well on the ground monitoring support. For more information check out their website: http://www.theunlimitedchild.org/why-early-childhood-education/#values
We met with Thuli from The Unlimited Child and asked her to tell us a bit more about herself.
How many years have you worked in the field of ECD?
“ I started in 2004, I started at my mum’s crèche as an admin assistant. My deep love and passion for children and community work motivated me to pursue a diploma in Early Childhood Development.”
Where are you from?
“I come from a small family and I grew up in small community called Lamontville in Durban. I always knew I wanted to give back to my community. It is a community that is absolutely volatile and people don’t care much about Education. This fueled my passion for Early Childhood Development”
When did you start working with The Unlimited Child?
“ I started in 2011 as a Monitor- I am basically in charge of monitoring the implementation of The Unlimited Child programmes in the ECD centers. Over the years I completed a few courses in facilitation. My experience and dedication had led me to move upwards in my career. My current role is that of National Training Coordinator. I am responsible for the training of our programme across the country.”
In our last report we promised to update you about the Educational Resource Kit we purchased for the Emthonjeni in Monwabisi Park. This kit consists of educational toys and forms an integral part of a quality early childhood development programme: it promotes and strengthens the development of fine and gross motor skills.
Why is this important? Meet Fikile.
Fikile is a 5-year-old boy from Monwabisi Park with dreams of becoming a fireman. In order for him to achieve his dream he has to attend a playgroup at an Emthojeni regularly to build the muscles in his fingers and arms.
Every morning as soon as he hears the cheerful voices of his fellow playmates on their way to the Emthonjeni, Fikile hides away. Sis Nomathemba, the ECD teacher, had regularly confronted Fikile’s mum to understand why he was not attending the playgroup.
One day on her way home, Sis Nomathemba was passing Fikile’s home when she noticed Fikile playing alone on the pathway trying to grasp at a stone. She stood still and quietly observed that Fikile was experiencing difficulty in doing so. Sis Nomathemba had immediately realized that Fikile’s lack of attendance at playgroup was because his under- developed fine motor skills . The development of fine motor skills ensures a child’s ability to write, draw , work on puzzles and manipulate tiny objects.
The educational resource kit we could purchase has had a great impact on Sis Nomathemba’s playgroup. Fikile no longer hides away out of shame for not been able to pick up stones or grasp a pencil.
It is amazing to see how Fikile and his friends develop as they learn through play. Fikile’s dream of becoming a fireman will one day be realized.
It's been 3 weeks that we have graduated from the GlobalGiving Accelerator. As you all can imagine, lots has been happening at Monwabisi's Emthonjenis. One of the stories we want to share with you today is about a 3 year old girl whose life has been transformed since she came to the Emthonjeni Programme a month ago.
Thanks to your continuous support and donations, we are able to keep the programmes running and enroll more kids every day who want to join.
Last month was especially exciting for Buhle - a girl from Monwabisi Park.
3-year-old Buhle lives with her unemployed parents in a shack dwelling in Monwabisi Park informal settlement. Without her parents having any source of income, except a small government grant, the future looks bleak for Buhle. She plays around the unsafe vicinity of her home in water puddles, picking up twigs and old rusted cans which serve as her toys.
Every day, hundreds of children like Buhle are not exposed to Early Childhood education and educational resources, which are crucial to their cognitive development and future chances of job acquisition.
One day in September this year, Buhle accompanied her mum on mum’s washing day to the nearest Emthonjeni.
It was here that Buhle experienced children in her age group actively playing with colorful toys, crayons and paints. She marveled at the colorful toys. She could not contain her excitement and ran towards the other children and joined in on the activities. It was love at first sight … for her who had not known that beyond the world of scrap and dirt, there are real colorful toys and children like herself who could access this opportunity.
It was at this point that the eagerness to learn overcame Buhle. Playing with toys leads to learning colours, shapes, numbers and the development of fine motor skills cognition. Meeting with her new friends everyday further develops her social and emotional skills.
Buhle's parents are also noticing the difference at home. They observe how Buhle has become more receptive since she attends the daily sessions at the Emthonjeni. They are starting to understand why education is very important and goes far beyond literacy skills.
The Emthonjeni programme offers children like Buhle and her friends the opportunity to develop holistically. The toys draw them into a world of imagination and development. Buhle and other children in her community are now able to develop optimally and enjoy the prospects of a better future.
Next month, we are getting an additional Educational Toy Kit for the Emthonjeni in Monwabisi Park. We will keep you updated on this.
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