Help educares give SA children the start they need

by Starting Chance Trust
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Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Help educares give SA children the start they need
Morning Ring
Morning Ring

In South Africa in 2015 there were 8 million children between the ages of 0-6 years. 84% of these children have no access to Early Childhood Development (ECD).

Starting Chance is always looking for innovative ways to help educares in at-risk communities give South African children the start they need on their educational journey. We are passionate about re-establishing the equilibrium needed to change children's lives. Teachers need a helping hand to improve the learning environment and offer quality programmes for the children they teach.

In a recent survey across the 21 schools we support in Mfuleni, Cape Town, less than 20 practitioners out of 108 were able to access college training. This is only one fifth of the teachers working in the educares. The reasons for this poor attendance are multiple. Insufficient places in the colleges. Carers and teachers having insufficent basic education to enter the college. No money for transport. And the list goes on. Suffice it to say that many practitioners do not get support. They, like all of us, are passionate and they really want to improve their qualifications and knowledge but don't know how to do it. The knock-on effect of this scenario is poor education standards in the most most critically important age group - early childhood from 0 - 6.

We aim to change that. We provide practical skills transfer workshops each month on key ECD principles and all practitioners in our programme are invited to attend. We work within the different age groups to ensure that only age-appropriate training is transferred. This year we have spent time looking at exisiting material which is provided by the Department of Education. Whilst the content is excellent, the presentation is text heavy and hard to internalise. We have transformed the material into learner appropriate, vibrant and compelling information. The practitioners are so excited! For the first time - the learning material is meaningul!

Between 50 and 60 ladies attend each month and we are seeing results in the classrooms. We have a team of field workers who visit the educares each week to help to ensure that training is implemented in the classroom. They role model best practice and mentor and support the practitioners.

There is nothing more beautiful than visiting a school and seeing children engaged in meaningful fun acitivities, playing outside on educational equipment and loving their learning environment. To eliminate the poverty gap - this is not a choice. It's a necessity. Age-appropriate, play-based learning with tailor-made activities is a transformative formula to help children to reach their full potential.

This will only happen if we spend effective time working together with the practitioners to transform their knowledge base and empower them to develop  their potential too.

We can't do it alone. Research shows that investment in early childhood development yields the highest return on investment in human development. if you are looking for something to support, please consider our programmes. If you already are, please don't stop!  Keep changing lives with us today, tomorrow and into the future!

Professional Development
Professional Development
Resource packs
Resource packs
New learning material
New learning material

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All we want is a Starting Chance!
All we want is a Starting Chance!

For some Christmas is about presents. For some, it is friendship and family. But for many, particularly in our township environment, it is about survival:

  • How do we survive the 4th wave of COVID?
  • How do we survive losing our home that has burnt to the ground?
  • How do we put food on the table for our children?

For Starting Chance, Christmas is about hope and love and opportunity. 2021 has been a tough year for the schools we support. Against all odds, 27 out of 30 schools have survived. Their teachers and principals have faithfully poured their lives and souls into giving the children they teach the best start they could. Three schools didn't survive. Personal circumstances, lack of funds led to the closure. We mourn those schools. We offer them hope and support so that they can try to reopen in 2022.
This year Starting Chance focused on giving the teachers and principals the support and opportunity to go beyond survival. We introduced new and innovative changes. We ran workshops. We facilitated a counselling NPO to visit Mfuleni once a week to help those in need. We visited schools and supplied education packs and furniture to the under-resourced centres. Our education team enabled them to implement what they learned in the workshops. The results showed in our end of year evaluations. The children assessments showed a 100% improvement. Eight centres scored 4/7 or more in the evaluation.

So it was with great excitement, we were able to offer these eight schools a place in our hub programme for 2022. These educares will have the opportunity to have more visits from the fieldworkers, resource training every week and a chance to give children in their schools a better start to develop and grow. Over 600 children will benefit from this programme. Together we will bridge the education gap and help them to be as ready as possible for school.

But we need your help! Your financial support can change the lives of the children and their parents. Please help us to purchase the educational packs' schools need to develop their maths, language and life skills.

Five schools are staying in our entry-level TTinT programme. They will be further supported and mentored to help them to reach the scores they need to enter the hub programme in 2023. They need your help too! They are under-resourced and have poor physical learning environments. Help us change this!

Eight schools will be joining our Alumni Programme. We will continue to be alongside them as they become legends in the Early childhood sector in Mfuleni and share the leadership and skills they have learned over the past years with Starting Chance.

One of the miracles of Christmas is the unexpected! In 2021, we have been blown away by unforeseen miracles. Donations-in- kind. Donations of time. Donations of money. These miracles have allowed us to help 1563 children thrive rather than survive.

Please continue supporting us in 2022 to keep on blessing those who are making a daily difference in the lives of children - and if you haven't supported us yet, please consider doing so in the coming year.

Thank you to all those who have been part of the Starting Chance family of givers in 2021! Stay safe and see you again in the New Year.

Readers make leaders
Readers make leaders

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Message to our girls
Message to our girls

National Women's Day is a South African public holiday commemorating the 1956 march of approximately 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. They were passionate and determined. Their passion changed the lives of women in South Africa forever. August is dedicated to women to remind us of the journey we have been on and the progress that has been made since those days. But also to remind us of how far we need to go.

This year the focus is on gender equality. According to a UNICEF report on gender equality: “Worldwide, nearly 1 in 4 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are neither employed nor in education or training – compared to 1 in 10 boys.”

“Some 1 in 20 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 – around 13 million – have experienced forced sex”. 

As we reflect on the meaning of Women's Month, Starting Chance is committed to bringing awareness to the responsibility we all have to give the little girls of South Africa a Starting Chance for the road ahead. We have asked teachers, principals and friends of Starting Chance to share their messages for our little girls. 

As principals and teachers have shared their own journeys where they have overcome rape, prejudice, gender-based violence and more to become strong women making a difference in their community, we are determined to help our little girls in the educares we support to have equal opportunity to achieve their dreams. 

Education is key to change. In the township environment so often, education is a privilege rather than a right. 

Section 28 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution states that “every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, health care and social services, as well as the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation”.

So the question is: how do we give our little girls their starting chance?

We believe that the workshops that we run throughout the year help to strengthen the passion and equip the teachers to provide best practice equal education for all their children. It is critically important for little boys to understand the importance of respect and equal opportunity.

Research shows that the concept of gender takes root in children between the ages of 3 and 7. During this early phase of childhood, they begin to understand gender norms, identities and stereotypes and even acquire strong gender biases around the types of jobs that are suitable for men and women. 

In the classrooms, we try to ensure that the games and toys are gender neutral and we train teachers to encourage all children to participate and try all educational games. We ensure that the fantasy areas where children have the chance to dress up and pretend to be firemen and doctors and teachers – that children are encouraged to dream about any profession they choose.

Attitude and passion are key to change. Small steps put in place when the children are young will become large footprints for change for tomorrow’s generation.

How can you help us? We ask you to consider donating to our training and development programme to enable us to continue changing the lives of children, parents and teachers to secure a better future for all.

Be strong and courageous
Be strong and courageous

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Teachers receiving resource packs
Teachers receiving resource packs

For many teachers in the townships, formal college is extremely daunting. Many have not had the opportunity to have formal schooling beyond the age of 15 and so their approach to learning is different. Others have been able to finish school but their experience wasn't great. They are scared. They don't want to make a fool of themselves. They often don't understand the educational theory and  material given at college.

And yet - they are brilliant teachers in the classroom. They have a passion for their work, they love the children and they want to know more! There is a desperate need for excellent early childhood education in the townships to try to bridge the poverty gap. How can we make best practice schools happen? Practice, Persistence and Patience are key ingredients!

So what is the solution? Our educational team has found a blended approach works best. During COVID our schools all shut down and the teachers felt helpless and frustrated. In 2021, we have been able to restart our practical skills workshops held monthly. Our Saturday morning workshop is fun, interactive and hands-on! We tackle topics pertinent to the early childhood milestones and we provide practical skills training that will allow the teacher to go back into the classroom on a Monday morning and implement what they have learned.  During lockdown and into the first quarter of 2021, we have created bright practical learning material including posters, "how to" ideas and checklists. This C.A.L.M (Classroom and Learning Management) material will aid teachers to create excellent learning environments for the children. 

But we believe the workshops are not enough! They whett the apetite for learning and excite the teachers, but for many implementing the material into the classroom and managing children can be daunting. So every month our 3 fieldworkers, Noms, Joyce and Lebo, visit our 30 schools on a rotational basis. Once there they spend time with the teachers role modelling best practice, supporting with ideas, and mentoring teachers who are having difficulties. These visits are key to our success. The teachers love them, they feel empowered and encouraged and the children benefit from the professional support.

But this is still not enough! Most of the schools we work with are very poor, they have little or no resources, and after Covid lockdown little money to buy resources. This is where our Friends of Starting Chance save the day! Through donations and support we are able to buy educational packs for each school and the teachers are trained by our field workers to use the educational material. We also collect recyclable material and train our teachers how to create material of their own. In this way, we equip our schools and give our children of Mfuleni  the Starting Chance they deserve! And the help and support is so appreciated:

"I'd like to extend our gratitude to Starting Chance with many thanks for the resourceful packages we have been given"

"I want to thank Starting Chance for all their support and unconditional love. Thank you for the package and teaching materials"

As Covid numbers remain low at the moment we now have 1434 children enrolled in the 30 schools we support.

There are 121 teachers requiring training, visits and support.

With your help, we can make 2021 a year in which children in Mfuleni are given a chance to fly.  Let's do it! 

Toddlers exploring recycled materials
Toddlers exploring recycled materials

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A socially distanced heritage day celebration
A socially distanced heritage day celebration

As 2020 limps to an end with COVID-19 reappearing all over the world in a second wave, that in many cases is worse than the first, it is hard to feel hopeful. For township educares in South Africa - 2021 looks bleak. They have experienced a shocking 2020. Many have lost loved ones, many have had to close their educare doors and there is a feeling of sadness and despondency.

For Starting Chance, we are filled with a sense of gratitiude and humbleness. All 30 of our  educares managed to reopen in August/September and continued to the end of 2020. Children received food, education, love and nurturing. Teachers showed amazing resilience and tenacity as they continued with their vocation with a smile on thier face and love in their hearts. Why was this possible? How come other educares all over the Cape were closing their doors for ever and ours could continue? The answer is simple. 

Friends of Starting Chance all over the world rose to the challenge, dug deep in their pockets despite their own problems and lent a hand. Money came in each month as we paid out COVID-19 subsidies to 165 teachers across 30 schools, food vouchers were bought with money raised from Mandela Day, and above all messages of hope and support came pouring in - encouraging us to keep going. Together we gave over 1800 children the chance to continue with their education. Together we gave teachers and principals hope and energy to continue their outstanding work. Together we gave parents something to hold onto when all else looked empty and hollow.

We finished 2020 on a positive note. 70 to 80 teachers attended small group training each week. Our fieldworkers visited schools to help with appropriate programmes adhering to COVID-19 principles. Schools used food vouchers to ensure children had nourishing food. 

Now as we look forward to 2021, we hold onto hope. We plan with a positive spirit. We are grateful for a wonderful education team who are dedicated and well trained to support teachers and children in the schools we walk alongside. We are grateful for our Friends of Starting Chance who we know will continue to be there for us. 

We have an exciting year ahead of us:

  • We will start building a brand new centre for the children who are differently-abled attending Lonwabo Special Care Centre.
  • We will start building a new centre for 120 children of Mzamomhle Educare whose shack school has been burgled multiple times during the lockdown, it has been a 7 year struggle for the principal as she waited for this moment.
  • We can't wait to learn together in our Training Teachers in Township workshops - new insights and ideas as to how we can improve our education in our classrooms.
  • We hope to bring restoration to our embattled teachers and principals, build their strength, bring them joy.
  • We envisage beautiful children playing in their playgrounds like children should with their parents happy and secure in the knowledge that their children are well cared for.

Please help us support the principals and teachers in getting their schools ready for a new beginning - many will not have received income since the end of November 2020. They have little left in reserve, and what they do have is needed for food to feed the children as they arrive back. By helping us, you will be helping children play and learn once more.

Help us to give 1800 children in Mfuleni the START they desperately need in 2021.

To everyone who helped us in 2020, thank you! Without your help, support adn encouragement we can do nothing. Together we can change a generation!

How resources you provide changes children's lives
How resources you provide changes children's lives

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Organization Information

Starting Chance Trust

Location: Cape Town - South Africa
Website:
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Project Leader:
Ali Corbett
Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa
$2,545 raised of $20,000 goal
 
24 donations
$17,455 to go
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