Bright Beginnings

READING THEIR WAY INTO A WIDER WORLD

After working for a year in Amaoti at Susan Ncgobo School, the international outreach group, Project TEN, undertook the refurbishing of a small room at the school as a library. They had been introduced to the school through The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme which then took up the challenge to see the shelves filled with books. A total of almost 500 books has now been donated to the fledgling library through the amazing response to the appeal put out. The students at Akiva College were particularly generous in their response to the appeal. Said Cameron Wulfsohn, head of Akiva’s Executive Committee for Outreach, “We are privileged to be able to know the books we have given will help the pupils at the school in the great adventure of being able to read.” Accepting the books, Mrs Swazi Shebangu, Principal of Susan Ncgobo, said they were part of the answer to a long-held dream to see a library facility established at the school.

Where only a month earlier the shelves had been almost empty of reading material, Mrs Amanda Mthetwa, school librarian, is now anxiously wondering where she will put any more books which might be donated. But it is a wonderful challenge to have. The community’s great generosity has resulted in reading books suitable for Grade R through to Grade 7 now virtually filling the shelves to capacity. The library is in need of English dictionaries to help the older pupils who are puzzled by unfamiliar words, and isiZulu story books for the children in the lower grades who are taught in their mother tongue. The library space also could do with bean bags and cushions for the young learners while they enjoy their story times and anyone who may have a spare bookcase (preferably metal, but not essential) will know that it will find an excellent home there. If you are able to help us with any of these items, please contact Leigh-Ann Stevens (leigh-ann@domino.org.za).

The vision is growing for the library to become a fuller resource centre for the school where teachers can access teaching materials like posters and charts for their lessons. Staff are being canvassed for their input on what materials would be useful. This would be an excellent opportunity for volunteers with The Domino Foundation to research and produce these materials. Two volunteers with excellent credentials in the area of libraries and literacy are already on board. David Hellinger, with thirty years in tertiary education behind him and involvement with various reading-oriented programmes, and retired librarian, Frances Callan, have already had input into the effective running of the new library and have vision for ways in which to develop the facility into one which effectively resources the community at Susan Ngcobo. Frances has cast her expert eye over volumes which have been donated and has seen that there is a need for non-fiction books suitable for Grades 6 and 7 dealing with the following subjects: South African history post 1994; inventions; science; ecology; computers; the history and geography of Africa. Books in isiZulu for all levels from Grade R to Grade 7 are also desperately needed. For any of these or for information on any aspect of Life Skills activities, please get in touch with Leigh-Ann on leigh-ann@domino.org.za.

 

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ECD Effects 4th Quarter 2015

Early Childhood Development 4th Quarter 2015

“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.”

These great words from Nelson Mandela inspire the Domino Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, an initiative that hopes to empower unequipped and under-resourced ECD centres to build a stronger foundation for young learners.

One of South Africa’s greatest education challenges is access to quality learning from a young age and even those that do go to foundation phase learning are often scared by the social ills of a broken community. The Amaoti area is marked by poverty and child-headed households and the reality is that what’s happening at home affects the school day – making teaching difficult and requiring teachers to double up as counsellors too.

The Domino Foundation’s ECD team walks alongside 16 ECD centre owners, monitoring the crèches weekly. Educational and enterprise assistance is provided to help meet the nutritional, cognitive, social, behavioural and educational needs of children in their formative years.

Even though the programme has been implemented for a few years it has been a joy to see the suggested improvements being cemented in centres’ routine. All the crèches now teach the same themes and work in tandem together, whereas before the teachers worked in silos isolating themselves from peers. Through the guidance of Unlimited Child and the continued support of the Domino Foundation’s crèche mentors, crèche owners and teachers are empowered to not just care for the children but actually teach them too.

The Sibaya Community Trust have generously funded the programme for the past three years and have been so encouraged by the improvements in the crèches that Domino works into that they are extending funding to cover 15 more crèches in the Waterloo area. Crèche assessments have already been well under way as life skills workers rate the Waterloo crèches on their standing on the registration process, their hygiene, teaching methods and infrastructure.

As a thank you for the teachers’ selfless dedication the Domino Foundation threw an awards ceremony for the crèche owners and teachers complete with holidays hampers and gifts to acknowledge them for what they have done.

The ECD team is excited to unroll what they have set up this year; a season they feel is full of promises and miracles. 2015 has been a year of strengthening and laying the foundations to make an even bigger impact on vulnerable children in the Amaoti community in 2016. As God opens doors into government the team prays for the completion of all the crèche registrations, an accomplishment that brings life and security to the creches and a stepping-stone to a brighter future for our children.

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ECD Effects June/July 2015

The Early Childhood Development programme focuses on empowering ECD centre educators and owners with essential education and enterprise skills. Since it’s launch in 2011 the programme has impacted 32 crèches in the Amaoti area in rural KwaZulu-Natal, assisting in making ECD centres sustainable businesses in the process making a lasting economic and educational impact in the community.Sixteen of the creches are funded the Bright Start Programme, a Sibaya Community Trust initiative that invests in education.

We have witnessed many success stories throughout the years, classrooms have been built and beautified, owners have learnt business and teaching skills and kids have quality classes. To ensure that the little learners can absorb the quality education they’re fed nutritious meals everyday through the Domino Foundation’s feeding programme.

Primrose Gcabashe is the crèche owners of Thembelihle Crèche and is exceptionally proud of her new crèche built through the funds available through the programme. She believes the programme has empowered her run to an effective business as well as provide quality education saying, “I don’t feel so alone, I feel supported and encouraged and now I have a beautiful crèchethat I can teach the children in.”

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Bright Beginnings for Back2School!

Traditional zulu dances in celebration

The children at an Amaoti  crèche had a bright start to the school year when Integra Scores, a BBBEE verification agency, threw them a party with all the delicious treats that children love as well as a generous donation of stationery to the value of R5 000.00. The children performed a Nativity Play and traditional Zulu songs and dances to express their appreciation – a fitting finale to a fun-filled occasion. And long after the taste of the party-fare has faded, these children will be enjoying the educational benefits of colouring-in books, paints, pencils, erasers, story-books, crayons, balls, play dough, and scissors – all the tools  needed to equip them for the challenges of ‘big school’.

Integra Scores approached Durban North-based NPO Indlela at the end of last year with a view fo throwing a Christmas party for children in the Amaoti community. As numerous parties had already been organised, it was suggested that they consider sponsoring a ‘Back2School’ party in the new year for a crèche that falls under Indlela’s ‘Bright Beginnings’ programme. Indlela’s crèche development programme is aimed at helping to prepare young children in needy communities for a brighter future through improved nutrition, early childhood education, and by upgrading the physical environment of the crèches.

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‘Unlimited’ Opportunities

Indlela has launch a new creche development programme in partnership with The Unlimited Child, an organisation that focuses on early childhood development.
For the past few years Indlela has been supplying soup on a daily basis to an ever-increasing number of crèches in Amaoti, a feeding programme that was extended this year to include porridge at breakfast as well as lunch-time soup for the hungry babies and toddlers at some 30 crèches in this impoverished area.  Most of these crèches are informal, having begun with one ‘gogo’ babysitting her grandchildren and growing as more and more neighbours started sending their children to her for a minimal fee – certainly not enough to feed 20 or 30 hungry mouths! While this is a good example of community co-operation, it has limitations in that the ‘gogos’ are not equipped to stimulate the children and prepare them for formal school.

Children Playing with new toys

Yvonne Haviland, project leader for Indlela’s feeding programme, recognised that these children were not ‘school ready’ and was concerned that they would be seriously disadvantaged when they started Grade 1. The result was the partnership between Indlela and TheUnlimited Child, which trains caregivers, many of whom have very Children playing with their new toyslittle formal education themselves, to stimulate their charges.  90 caregivers have already benefitted from the organisation’s training and, in addition, The Unlimited Child has sponsored educational toys worth thousands of rand for those crèches whose carers have undergone training.

Indlela and The Unlimited Child are committed to feeding both the bodies and minds of Amaoti’s children today so that they will be able to build a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.

Crèches with their new Educational material

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Spreading The Easter Joy

Spreading The Joy Of Easter

Children in Amaoti experienced the joy of Easter when Indlela delivered Easter Eggs to the schools and crèches that we work into over the long weekend.

Local School, Umhlanga College and University, Varsity College, managed to raise a staggering amount of Easter Eggs for the children. Each year Varsity college take the grade 3’s at Amaoti 3 Combined School on an Easter egg hunt and then provide the rest of the school kids with an Easter egg. This year Umhlanga College decided to join in and collect Easter eggs for Nhlonipho Primary school, one of the schools in Amaoti. The learners of both Umhlanga College and Varsity College rose to the challenge and brought in over 8000 Easter eggs. This allowed us not only to give to A3 and Nhlonipho but all 3 of our schools in Amaoti.

We were able to give EVERY child at all 3 of our schools, 2 Easter Eggs EACH and the remainder of the eggs were split between the 30 crèche’s that we work into in the Amaoti community, providing each crèche child with an egg each.

Happy Helpers – Evie Edy & Elaine Turton

Happy Helpers - Jomo Skikhane, Nonte Gumede & Angela Altern

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