NGO seeks to assist under-resourced centres

Some were hard at work.

Joy was written all over the faces of more than 80 children at a Philippi educare centre last week when they had some special visitors.

Members of GROW with Educare Centres and MySchool visited GROW Philippi Village Educare Centre to see the impact made by toys donated by MySchool to the children.

GROW with Educare Centres was established in 2014 to address the lack of quality early education in poor communities. It is a project of the Clothing Bank, an organisation which helps South Africans become self-employed.

The visited was also prompted by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of Nation Address (SONA) when he highlighted the importance of a two-year compulsory early childhood development (ECD) programme before Grade 1, and announced the migration of early childhood centres from social development to the basic education portfolio.

GROW chief executive officer Tracey Chambers said in line with the president’s call, GROW with Educare Centres has opened the first 10 of 21 brand new ECD centres in the Western Cape and Gauteng in the last few weeks, with the focus of providing high quality early learning in under-resourced communities.

She said the organisation has 32 schools around the country so far.

On Friday hordes of children enjoyed themselves with toys that were sponsored by MySchool. Ms Chambers thanked all those who are involved in the development of children.

She said her organisation has a unique model which takes a multi-faceted approach to solving the ECD crisis in the country in a sustainable and scalable way. “The organisation is establishing a successful chain of ECD centres in under-resourced communities, managed by capable independent principals with trained, qualified teachers. These young people are learning to be ready about school. We want to fix our education development. We want to start at the foundation level,” she said.

Ms Chambers added that her organisation has eight workshops for its teachers.

Cornelia Sgigaba, GROW Philippi Village Educare Centre owner, said she was delighted with the visit and help they got from all the parties. She said thedonation from MySchool was helpful to the children who range in age from two to six years.

“GROW is a great initiative. There is a mentor that takes the staff through everything, budget, business plans and many other things. I opened the educare because I believe foundation phase is the most important investment. We all have to start here to build our young people,” she said.

She encouraged others, and not only women, to open up centres to help grow young people of their areas. However, she said such centres should be run professionally.

On Friday, the organisation also visited two other GROW ECDs in Gugulethu and Nyanga to find out more about how these ECDS work.