Dear Friends of Thembanathi,
We are very excited to be taking our first steps towards making our new early childhood education and community center a reality. Last month we completed the registration of the plot of the land where we intend to build the center. It is a wonderful property with easy access to the main road and a beautiful view of the valley below. A few weeks ago, the Board and director of Siyabonga Early Childhood Development Center and I met with our new contractor and architect at the project site to begin surveying the land. On Monday, workers will arrive to start clearing the land and building a fence around the perimeter. Our aim is for construction on the building itself to begin within the next month, once we have finalized the permits and plans. We are all excited to see the project move forward, and eager to see the center open in the new facility, which will be designed and equipped to meet the needs of 60 young children and provide additional support for other children and community members, by the start of the new school year in January 2014.
As we move forward with the final stages of our capital campaign, we thought it was a perfect time to remind everyone why early childhood education and care programs are so critical for children and families faced with the impacts of the HIV pandemic and of a long history of poverty and of unequal opportunities for employment, education, and social services.
Ten Reasons to Invest in Early Childhood Care and Education like those we support in rural South Africa (adapted from UNESCO).
1. Early childhood care and education is a right, recognized by the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by 194 countries
2. Early childhood care and education is crucial for nurturing healthy, strong bodies and minds and ensuring optimal wiring and functioning of a child's brain.
3. Early childhood care and education can help create the defenses of peace in the minds of young children, and encourage values important for living together and sustainable development.
4. Early childhood care and education has a beneficial effect on school preparedness and later learning, and leads to higher school enrolment, particularly for girls.
5. Early childhood care and education yields higher investment returns than in any other levels of education.
6. Early childhood care and education provides childcare essential for supporting working parents and enabling older siblings’ schooling.
7. Early childhood care and education can lay the foundation for a transformative society, leading to the realization of gender equality.
8. Early childhood care and education levels the playing field by compensating for disadvantages in the family and reducing inequalities between rich and poor. It is thus a key component to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
9. Early childhood care and education is fundamental and a foundational step to achieving other Education for All goals and Millennium Development Goals.
10. Early childhood care and education equips young people with the skills to irmprove their own lives and to be agents of change to create a brighter future.
Check out Thembanathi's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thembanathi) to see even more great pics of the kids who joined in to help with this campaign, and LIKE our page to stay up to date with our progress as we move forward. We would really appreciate your sharing our page with friends and family to help spread the word.
Thank you again for all your support! Without you, we couldn't have started our new program last year and have made such incredible progress towards achieving our goal of building an amazing new center for children in adversity in South Africa. We hope we can count on you to help us reach our next milestone.