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Hand over of Early Childhood Development Centres

18 | 06 | 54

Hand over of Early Childhood Development Centres

  • Handover date Friday 19 June 2015
  • Time 9am
  • Venue Phillipi

So I have a very deep love for the township of Philippi, known to the very old people as "Browns Farm". Many developments have been taking place for the kids and youth of the area and one such initiative which grabbed our attention are the EDC centers. Pre-school children in Philippi find going to their nearest Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres really exciting. Apart from a shared interaction with other children, which helps their socialization; taking part in activities provided by trained staff, which gives them mental stimulation; they find going to the toilet a novelty because afterwards they can use tap water to wash their hands. Until recently, they stood in a line to use a squeezy bottle with a piece of plastic piping on it.

Philippi, west of Cape Town, Is a really big township with different developments taking place, and some sections still underdeveloped. Most people don't know that the area is as an agricultural hub that provides most of the city’s fresh fruit and vegetables. I know a different, vibrant side of the area but life for some residents is either marked by hard physical work, or is poverty stricken and with a high number of unemployment.

The Early Childhood Development centers provide parents for alternative childcare, Instead of leaving their little ones to fend for themselves, locking them indoors to keep them safe, or relying on a grandparent to look after them, most parents want their babies and toddlers to go to a crèche that has the facilities to give children a good start in life.

The Rotary Club of Claremont and Lewis Group have begun the long-term Injongo Educare Project to improve 47 needy educares in Philippi. This year they have upgraded five more Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres as part of their ongoing drive to improving ECD conditions in Philippi. The centres that received this much-needed boost are Ikamvalethu, Nobubele, Sophumelela, Qhama and Nceduluntu. The children they care for range in age from babies to six year olds.

From the onset Rotary Claremont engaged in a Physical Needs Assessment that established what the ECD centres needed to do to ensure compliancy with health and safety indicators, to provide stimulation and to qualify for a subsidy. The findings revealed that all the centres operating in Philippi are vulnerable. Without a physical upgrade, many centres would not be able to register or maintain a government subsidy since they could not meet the Department of Social Development’s Norms and Standards.

The physical upgrades are accompanied by helping the principals and staff with other skills essential in running a successful educare centre. They receive governance and age appropriate ECD training, as well as mentoring in how to manage a playroom, and comply with fire, health and safety standards.

The parents, teachers, principals, Rotarians and Lewis all want the same thing – every child schooled in Philippi should have the opportunity to go a safe and stimulating educare centre. Play and learning positively equips children for big school; then, with a solid foundation, they can go on to play an important part in the future of South Africa.

The Lewis Group’s ongoing commitment to uplifting communities was explained by Sharon Rohm, Head of Socio-economic Development: “The Lewis Group is proud to support the communities that support them. These communities, often underprivileged, are made up of families who work hard to give their children the best. And the best for any child is a good education that will open the door to their future.”

The investment in children is nothing new to the Lewis Group. In addition to the ECD project in Philippi, Lewis has built classrooms and funded upgrades for schools all over South Africa. Socio-economic funds have also been allocated to cover bursaries for children from primary school to tertiary studies. It is a cause that is close to the heart of what Lewis stands for: to support people, especially children, in a way that gives them the knowledge, confidence and skills to reach their dreams.

Rotary Claremont President John Jacobs added: “The helping hand stretched out by Rotary Claremont is more than just financial assistance – the club members provide other types of support too in this project, which is currently the biggest of this kind in South Africa.”

The Rotary club is made up of business and professional people who use their skills and contacts to uplift society.

Rotary Claremont also puts in funds, raised – in part – from the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour. Rotary Claremont in partnership with the Lewis Group has so far spent R8 million from inception on the Injongo Educare Project.

The official handover of the improved premises takes place at 9am on Friday June 19. At each of the five educare centres, the little ones will enjoy a celebratory party to herald in their “happy new improved crèches”.


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