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South Africa: Sikhula Sonke Reaches out to Children
Source: SA - the Good News
Source Date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Aug 27, 2013

“Khayelitsha has a large number of children who are not accessing formal early childhood development (ECD) services due to factors that include inadequate family income, difficulties due to distance between villages and the ECD centres as well as a lack of information and education regarding the importance of child development,” says Mdebuka Mtwazi, Executive director of Sikhula Sonke ECD in the Western Cape.
Through the ECD programmes, +-2000 children have obtained access to ECD. 27 volunteers have been trained in basic ECD skills, coaching centres, and the Family Community Motivation (FCM). The ECD programme helps to better prepare young children for school. “Education and the development of young children is important. By creating a solid foundation from the beginning, we are ensuring that our children will have a better education and future,” says Pearl Mphuthi, Manager FNB Fund.
According to Mtwazi, children who have access to ECD services tend to have fewer grade repetitions, have higher schooling completion rates, make better and more informed choices in life, have better relationships, tackle challenges, have increased self-confidence, greater independence as adults and are socially and emotionally healthy.
“While we try to give children the opportunity to discover and learn about their world, poverty, lack of support and proper school curriculum for preschool ages are just some of the challenges that ECD sector faces in South Africa, “ explains Mtwazi.
Through the programme, many ECD practitioners have attained formal ECD skills and training, the children receive quality ECD education from trained practitioners, and many of the ECD sites are now registered with and funded by the Department Of Social Development and physically challenged children also receive proper ECD interventions. The programme provides coaching and support to 60 ECD practitioners based in 30 – 40 educare centres (reaching approximately 2 000 children and 200 households).
With the programme the practitioners have embraced ECD as a proper career path and have made great progress in their academic ECD training levels. “We have revived dreams and many families are taking charge of their lives. Early Childhood development is the first and the greatest milestones in the early years of every individual. We are trying to convey the message that say ECD is vitally important and each child should receive it either formal or informal but coordinated,” concludes Mtwazi.
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