Our Early Childhood Development Programme is our doorway of influence into the destitute township communities in Port Elizabeth, SA. We partner with disadvantaged Early Learning Centres to ensure that hungry children are fed, that they receive an education, that unqualified facilitators are mentored/trained, that sick (HIV/AIDS) children receive medication and that any maintenance or building revamping is sorted. Our teams create stability and accountability for these poverty-stricken places.
Many of the children in the Early Learning Centres we encounter are affected by HIV/AIDS, malnourishment, extreme poverty, alcoholism and abuse. None receive the education necessary for their age and therefore become developmentally stunted. Sometimes up to 100 children will be housed in shacks that are made out of corrugated metal and scraps that make it uncomfortably hot in summer and icy cold in winter. In our region 8500 children under the age of 11 drop out of school annually due to hunger.
Our teams visit these centres weekly where they interact with children and ensure they'e learning what is required. We've set up soup kitchens in these facilities which serve the children and unemployed/sick community members. Our project extends to revamping the existing structures which includes installation of flushing toilets, water tanks, vegetable gardens, fences, play apparatus, or zinc sheeting to create a safer learning environments. We make sure sick (HIV) children receive medication.
The most fundamental years of a child's life are between the ages of 1 and 6 and these are the ages that we deal with in these centres. The poverty we encounter is extreme but we believe that what we offer these children makes a remarkable difference to their immediate environment and also lays a positive foundation for their future education. Our programme makes sure that children reach their milestones, and by feeding them daily, we are able to keep them in school. Malnutrition is eradicated.