Domino ECD

Feeding in Famine and for the Future

It is more than a quarter of a century since Nelson Mandela’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo. On that auspicious occasion, he articulated his vision for a nation where the children should be “… no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by the disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance…” Twenty seven years on and that vision is far from being realised in this country. South Africa’s under-five population carries significant marks of malnutrition. As of 2016, more than one in four under-fives showed evidence of stunting and one in eight children in the same age bracket could be categorised as overweight…and the culprit is poor nutrition.

The “hunger, disease and ignorance” Mandela spoke of are often almost inevitable bedfellows in many of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and schools in South Africa’s less affluent communities and research has shown that there is a direct link between poor nutrition and poor educational outcomes. The University of Cape Town’s 2018 South African Child Gauge reported that six million South African children were living below the poverty line. Children in these circumstances are without reliable access to food, let alone to the right sort of food to ensure healthy development of their ability to learn and to reach their full potential as adults. A guaranteed meal at school is a strong incentive for children from financially-challenged homes to go to school.

The Domino Foundation’s programmes have some 13,566 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are either in pre-primary or primary education. With two of its programmes focusing on Life Skills and Literacy, a third on Early Childhood Development and a fourth on Nutrition, it was inevitable that the teams involved would be keen to develop their interrelationship. Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition programme says: “Our vision is fill the feeding gap and to make ECD Centres so attractive that parents want to send their children to school. We aim to add value to the existing government feeding schemes, allowing children to receive two meals a day. Our dream is of communities where no child is too hungry to concentrate and learn.” Emphasising the Nutrition programme’s specific Christian mandate, she added: “We feed those in our community who are going hungry through a crisis or circumstances beyond their control. In doing so, we enhance learning through meeting children’s physical need for health and balanced nutrition.”

The Nutrition programme’s Crèche Feeding Project provides nutritious meals to children at crèches every week day and encourages their attendance and helps them achieve developmental milestones. The School Sandwich Project has sandwiches delivered to school children who would otherwise have no lunch, providing the learners with ‘food for thought’. This augments the government feeding scheme to ensure that children who may only have a single meal at home get an additional meal designed to promote cognitive development and including carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables.

Monitoring and evaluation have been crucial to ensure that the Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme remains relevant and effective for consistent impact. Before the Covid crisis burst on South Africa’s marginalised communities, the closely linked areas of nutrition and hygiene had been a focus of Cathy’s teams, with extensive crèche owner training on the subject. Each crèche owner and child was weighed and measured. BMIs were calculated with bi-annual follow-ups scheduled. “The highlighting of obesity and stunting issues gives a clear picture on needed interventions. Our one kitchen averages 80,000 meals each month consisting of a highly nutritious porridge, daily-prepared and delivered soup or dried soup ingredients for crèches to prepare themselves. We aim to have more crèches preparing their own soup, creating space for new crèches to join the programme and pass through the three year graduation phase,” explained Cathy.

That was all before the challenge Domino faces on an ongoing basis was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Lockdown. Cathy elaborated: “Since 27 March, most of these children have not been to school at all and so could have missed out on that vital daily meal.” Cathy pointed out that not only had extreme hunger become an even greater threat in those communities but so had the negative educational effects of malnutrition.

The Domino Foundation’s Disaster Relief Unit, also led by Cathy, moved into action at the start of Lockdown to meet the basic needs of these young learners and their families. As part of KZN Response, a partnership of five NPOs (Disaster Relief, the Red Cross, Zoe Life, CityHope and Nation Changers), Cathy’s team set about collecting, packing and distributing “Hope Hampers” in and around Durban and beyond. The hampers included basic hygiene items and crucial non-perishable foodstuffs, enough to sustain a family of four for three weeks. Eventually, the equivalent of one million four hundred thousand meals were distributed. “The making of the thousands of sandwiches had to stop but feeding these vulnerable children could not,” declared Cathy. “Individuals, churches, community groups and corporates came on board and bands of masked volunteers made themselves available every day to see thousands of 20 litre buckets packed and loaded.”

At the end of the initial period of hard lockdown on 30 April, the principals of four schools in the Amaoti community in North Durban were consulted and lists of 1,500 vulnerable families drawn up. These were contacted and came to the relevant schools in small ‘socially distanced” groups at specified times to receive relief food parcels.

The days of Lockdown will eventually come to an end, but Cathy and her teams are fully aware that it will not be a matter of ‘back to business-as-usual’. Nutrition is a dynamic, changing programme and the pandemic and its fallout have dramatically changed the landscape. Cathy noted, “Through collaboration with like-minded NPO’s, corporates and individuals, we will continue to streamline our efforts into the relief space, growing and assisting with education in our resilience and preparedness, particularly in the light of the way this pandemic has challenged our abilities, time, resources and partnerships.”

Shaun Tait, CEO of The Domino Foundation, commented how adaptability and agility has characterised the way in which the teams of the various programmes have responded over the past months: “Contingencies and emergency situations have demanded that we pivot and change direction quickly and efficiently to be an answer in present crises and also to remain true to our long-term vision.”

Cathy is always keen to share more on this vital work and welcomes groups, companies and individuals who would like to be part of this ongoing programme to feed the most vulnerable in their time of need to contact her feeding@domino.org.za  or 031 563 9605)

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When in need, ask a woman!

Each year, South Africa marks Women’s Month in August and remembers the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 to protest the extension of Pass Laws to women.

The Domino Foundation is largely staffed by women, unrelenting in their determination to see the vulnerable in our communities shown mercy, the marginalised empowered and those with no voice finding justice.

In the time of Lockdown, the severely disrupted school calendar has meant several of the Foundation’s eight programmes have not been able to operate at regular full capacity, yet programmes like the Disaster Relief Unit and Nutrition programme, have gone into overdrive, collecting donations, packing and distributing the equivalent of over one a half million meals to many of Domino’s 13,000 beneficiaries and others through collaboration with city partners, churches and NGO’s. Karen Brokensha, Domino’s Marketing Storyteller, says, “The extraordinary times we find ourselves in have called for extraordinary agility in our female tribe. With extra time and capacity on their hands, due to the disruption in some of their programmes, we have been able to step into unfamiliar spaces to work together to meet the endless needs.

The feminine contingent at the Durban North based foundation have taken much of their lead from Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition and Disaster Response Unit as she coordinates the distribution Relief Aid to reach those in need. Recently nominated by News 24 as an “Everyday Hero”, Cathy has lavishly praised the teamwork which is seeing vital paperwork done, Monitoring and Evaluation continuing, the 64 crèches on Domino’s ECD programme being made Covid-ready for when the children can and do return, and the endless administrative business is being attended as a united effort. “Possibly it comes quite naturally as we women are multi-taskers by nature of our roles as working moms. The ladies are thinking smart and stepping into the gaps without being asked. This really is teamwork at its best!”

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Some of the ladies of the Domino team whose hands have made the job much lighter left to right:

Happiness Zulu; Zikhona Diya; Zanele Nzimakwe and Gloria Nyawuza.

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Mandela Day – Power Hour Options

We know some people like heavy lifting and to feel physically connected to the project! So in line with all COVID-19 Public Health & Hygiene Regulations (we know them very well after packing 20,048 Hampers over the past 3 months ) added to Domino’s signature agility, we have various #MandelaDay2020 options to suit your needs and budgets:

  1. Want to do a workout on site? We would love you and your team (strictly 5 peeps at time for an hour max) to help us pack and stack more Hope Hampers. It’s a R3,500 donation from your CSI/SED budget, and we will set up the packing grid here at Domino in Durban North on Friday 17 July 2020 only. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za to book your time slot and send her your company details for invoicing. Watch our COVID-19 Workout video for inspiration of what you can expect and please don’t be a “Lazy Llama”!
  2. Prefer to workout off site? Ok perfect, you can come and collect a stack of 10 x COVID-19 Branded Buckets from us at the Domino Offices in Durban North and make a donation of R500. Then you and your team need to fill them at your offices/homes/churches with the 10 x Standarised Items (to the value of approx R300 each) Post a little video and tag us with you hard at work having fun packing. Please return the filled buckets all sanitised and sealed to our offices by Friday 31 July 2020. Email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za and she will send you all the details of how to fill your buckets
  3. Make-up Dignity Bags for girls? Gather your friends and make up pretty and practical Toiletry Bags (Uzwelo do some beautiful recycled options) for teenage girls who on our Literacy and Life School Programmes. Fill them with the following seven basic Toiletry Items, add a handwritten card of encouragement and then drop them at the Domino Offices by Friday 31 July 2020. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za if you would like to bring joy & dignity to these girls.
  4. We need nappies for Africa – We care for 6 orphaned and vulnerable babies in our Babies Home and are always in need of nappies – Huggies/Pampers in sizes 2, 3 and 4 please. We can also use nappies to support little children in our partnering Early Childhood Development Centres. So, please pop a bundle of nappies, sensitive wet wipes and Vaseline (not perfumed) into your shopping trolley and drive by and drop off at Domino Offices in Durban North by Friday 31 July 2020. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za to let her know you would like to do that!
  5. Did their school & sports shoes shrink in lockdown? If that happened to your kids, and you now have pairs of pre-loved school and sports shoes in great condition to give to community friends in need, please ask and encourage your classmates to bring them to school and drop at Domino Offices in Durban North on Friday 17 July 2020, or we can send our drivers to come and collect them all together. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za with your school details and shoe collection contact person

Thank you so much #MandelaDay2020 #EachOneReachOne

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Mandela Day – Online Activations

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

We realise and respect that many of you might want to do something for Mandela Day this year but would prefer to do it from the comfort of your own offices or homes. So herewith some simple and super fun options:

  1. Could you zap a R67 gift to us? Thank you Zap away and please challenge 6 – 7 friends to do the same! Can we make it easier? WhatsApp us on 083 777 5633 and we will send you the mobile Zapper link to forward on …
  2. Are you an avid Zwift racing cyclist? Yay then please cycle in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020. It is R50 per entry and you can seriously chase that leader board!!
  3. Or are you more of a #WeekendWarrior type cyclist, where it’s about the coffee and the connecting and the great open road? Great, then please get your cycling crew and sign up to participate in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020 It is also R50 per entry and you can race your mates along the beach, bush or berg …
  4. Are you artistic and wildly creative? Could you draw a picture, do a painting, create a doodle or take a series of photographs? Anything to do with hope. Then you can auction it off to your friends and family online, tag us in your “online exhibition”, share your story and donate the proceeds to us!
  5. Do you act, create drama, write poetry or sing? Could you add your voice to a video about the importance of education, justice and nutrition? You could share it on your social media channels and tag The Domino Foundation to create greater awareness of the importance of the #DominoEffect – #fromcradletocareer giving #dignity #hope and #justice
  6. How about challenging your friends overseas to any of the above options? We have PayPal especially for those that love Africa, her sunshine, Shwe Shwe, the big 5 and our beloved Madiba!
  7. Could you continue to raise awareness and support of our Hope Vouchers please? R410 is just a click away and brings freedom of choice and dignified relief aid

THANK YOU AND GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The BIG picture

We thought it would be super helpful to put all our programmes into a one page “big picture format” for you, to make it easy to identify with our common values and purpose and how each programme interconnects with the other.

The aim is to reduce vulnerability step by step in a beneficiary’s life creating a positive #DominoEffect from Cradle to Career, an beyond!

There are three additional safety net interventions for added support of Human Rights, Disaster Management and protecting the Environment.

We hope this inspires you, as your impact plays it part in this story!

The Domino Programme Infograph

The interconnected #DominoEffect reducing vulnerability from Cradle to Career with additional Safety Net interventions in support!

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Active learning in Foundation Phase

Zanele Nzimakwe is the Team Leader for this Enterprise and Educational programme. Our partnership is with ECD Owners who are our beneficiaries, to enable them to stimulate and enhance child learning holistically, by equipping them with essential business skills that will assist them to run their school as a small business that is effective.

Progress in the first quarter of 2020 was follows:

  • The ECD Field Workers started with site visits in Blackburn and the Domino Babies Home
  • Field workers are busy working on developing a Practitioner Guide (how to improve their teaching and awareness skills of the needs of their pupils)
  • Provided age appropriate learning materials to our partnering ECD centres who are:
  1. iThemba
  2. Siyavuka
  3. Smanethemba
  4. Khulanathi
  5. Sifundokhule

Other activities included:

  • Quarterly Assessments were started but not completed prior to COVID-19 Lockdown
  • Staff did a reflection session to assess the impact of those ECD’s who have partnered with Domino vs those who have not. This was a great encouragement to the team
  • Team continue to implement the ECD 150 Tool

Victory!

“Ithuba is running their ECD centre effectively and their DSD funding proposal is in progress” said Zanele.  This it is anticipated will have a greater impact on their long term independence and business sustainability.

Have a sneak peak of Zanele taking learning online

 

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EGG-STATIC!

 

The response to The Domino Foundation’s appeal for Easter eggs was overwhelming. Every child on the Foundation’s Feeding programme received a chocolate-covered symbol of new life, the triumphant message of the Easter story. Schools, church groups, companies, families and individuals showed great generosity in the almost 9000 eggs they donated. Working together with Cathy Whittle, leader of the Feeding programme, Pippa Coote of Sprout Consulting, galvanised various businesses enterprises to bring in 4500 of the eggs. The young leaners at Qalakahle Crèche, Mansell Road, Stamford Hill, were delighted with the taste treat brought by the Easter Rabbit. Their crèche was one among the many which were blessed through the generosity of so many. Other channels through and to which eggs were distributed were The Domino Foundation’s Feeding, Babies’ Home, Life Skills and Red Light programmes, creches in Amaoti, Waterloo, the Durban CBD and the Point area, Glenridge, Anthem and Every Nation Churches, Youth for Christ, Mildene Retirement Village and Villa Sunfield old age home and frail care facility. On behalf of all those who were blessed by the wide and generous response to our appeal, we say “Thank you!” It was an Easter to remember!

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ECD UPDATE 1st QUARTER

The year started on a very high note for the ECD programme with the opening of the Ithuba ECD Centre in Blackburn Village, north of Durban. It has been an inspiring story of municipal, corporate, social outreach and local community cooperation to give the children of the area an opportunity to learn and grow, preparing them for a lifelong journey of education.

The iThuba Community Centre, a partnership between eThekwini Municipality, Tongaat Hulett Development and the Blackburn community has seen the development of the ECD centre, based in an old house which has been refurbished. The ECD programme will initially be overseen by The Domino Foundation’s ECD programme providing mentorship, assessments of the facilities and teaching. The programme will also supply a qualified teacher while training and mentoring local teachers to run the pre-school.

“The Domino Foundation is proud to be working with Tongaat Hulett Development in the establishing and opening of the iThuba Early Childhood Development Centre,” said Sliee Ndimande, ECD Programme Leader. “There is a high incidence of unemployment and as a result significant disadvantage and poverty in the greater uMhlanga area. There are also few pre-primary facilities serving the communities, and often are little more than childminding establishments. The Domino Foundation’s vision is to improve the quality of learning and preparation for school readiness of vulnerable children through focused empowering of ECD owners and educators. We see that, with the Tongaat Hulett Development funding, the lthuba ECD Centre will become a critical ECD model in the area.”

In the Waterloo community near Sibaya, the ECD Programme continued its work, funded by the ‘Sibaya Community Trust’, to upgrade early educator skills. This programme assists ECD centres in underprivileged areas to become sustainable by empowering the owners with business management skills. It also implements training to upgrade teaching skills so that critical early childhood development becomes a reality in the twelve centres where the ECD programme is working. The year’s activities began with a refresher training in Waterloo. Sliee Ndimande reported that many of the teachers who attended the workshop are doing well in their schools. ECD fieldwork in Waterloo began at the start of March in the areas of mentoring, monitoring, training, resources and nutrition.

A survey conducted of new practitioners in the ECD programme highlighted the critical need for training with these ladies in the crèches through the programme’s partners, ‘Unlimited Child’. The Unlimited Child’s programme covers life skills, mathematics, life science and language and aims to train caregivers in how to make learning fun. The programme starts with a hands-on four-day training session. The day-to-day practitioners’ guide, the daily routine and learning through play with educational toys are excellent tools to equip the care-givers and educators to give their charges a solid foundation for when they enter primary school.

Looking ahead into the year, the thorough groundwork which has been laid thus far in 2018 will enable another four crèches to benefit from the ECD programme as of July 2018. Growth has already been and will continue to be the hallmark of The Domino Foundation’s ECD programme.

Funding is urgently needed for a vehicle as the ECD programme expands. If you are able to assist us in this or be involved in some way with e programme, please contact Sliee Ndimande (ecd@domino.org.za).

 

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Stories from the crèche: 4th Quarter 2016

For children to reach their full potential it’s crucial they receive Early Childhood Development, a chance for them to grow mentally, physically and emotionally within a safe learning environment. With that purpose in mind our ECD programme aims to improve the quality of learning and to increase preparation for school readiness for children under the age of seven; a task we’ve taken to heart over the past three and half years.

As we’ve worked alongside 23 crèches in the Amaoti community we’ve watched them grow and gain essential skills to better the lives of pre-grade R children within the community.

During the 2016 year we slowly started phasing out in the crèches in the Amaoti area, testament to the success of the programme. With crèche owners now empowered and equipped with the necessary tools to improve active learning within their ECD centres, they have the opportunity to stand on their own and become self-sufficient, small businesses. We will still continue to feed the children in these crèches.

This year has also been an incredible time of expansion and we’ve assessed a number of crèches in two new areas, opening up opportunities for future involvement. We look to the new year with excitement and anticipation for what it holds, our dream of seeing children reach their full potential continually pushing us forwards.

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Stories from the crèche: 3rd Quarter 2016

We dream of seeing active learning taking place in crèches around South Africa, where Early Childhood Development centers are not just a baby-sitting service but a place for young children to learn, develop and grow.

For the past three years, we’ve been working tirelessly into 23 crèches in Amaoti through empowering ECD center educators and owners with essential education and enterprise skills. There have been great successes and as we prepare to slowly step away from them we look back at the programme through the eyes of our ECD mentors.

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“Firstly, I would like to say it is a privilege and honour to serve the Amaoti community through ECD. Working with little ones gives me the reason to serve God to the fullest. Through The Domino Foundation I’m now a qualified ECD educator with ECD NQF level 4 and am able to assist and mentor ECD teachers in the community to implement active learning in their ECD centers. I have seen a lot of improvement in the crèches we’re working with, with some being registered with the Department of Social Welfare, some in the process of registering. For all the crèches we’re working with I see active learning taking place.”

Zanele Gumede

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“ECD in Amaoti has been a very exciting experience for me. It has shown me the potential I have to influence the people around me to take education seriously from a young age. There has been transformation in the teachers and it has improved the children’s skills and learning abilities. Active learning now takes place in many of the crèches and teachers are passionate about teaching learners and developing them in all areas.

In the last year, there have been some exciting developments. Two of our crèches have undergone registration and are well on their way to registration – which has been one of our main objectives. One of the crèches also had a challenge where they had to close down due to another day care operating nearby causing many learners to leave. By God’s grace they decided to operate in a different area and have managed to continue working in their church building and now have a larger amount of school learners.”

Nauleen Luthuli

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To continue positively impacting the ECD programme we’re looking for these items:

  • learning resources for ages between 0-6 years (skipping ropes, puzzles, play dough, stencils, big lego blocks)
  • bright, funky material for our bean bag project (squares of 16cm x 16cm can even pre-cut)
  • Stationary (fat kokis, crayons, powder paints, colouring books/ pages, paper, chalk)
  • scrap paper collections (children can draw on the back of them)
  • nappies, wet wipes, toilet paper
  • cleaning materials to wash floors, tables/chairs, dishes etc.
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