A child’s chances in life should not be determined by circumstances outside of their control such as where they are born, their gender, race and postal code. Inequality of opportunity means that every child does not start their life with the same chances, inhibiting them from reaching their full potential as adults. Most are stuck in intergenerational loops of exclusion with few chances to escape.
Nophelo Mapukata is a Funda Leader in Amajinqi, Eastern Cape, on her way to help facilitate a reading club.
Breaking this cycle requires a fundamental change in life trajectories, starting in the womb. It involves reaching people – children, young people, pregnant mothers, parents, practitioners, managers and leaders – where they are now. For instance, evidence shows that ensuring access to early learning presents a real opportunity to address intergenerational poverty, advance equality and development, and benefit a largely informal sector that is dominated by black women. This requires us to build a strong public mandate for quality early learning; improve coordination and leadership to strengthen institutions; capacitate fit-for-purpose public systems that facilitate delivery of quality early learning programmes; design effective delivery platforms that support the scaling of early learning within informal socio-economic networks; and unlock public finances for early learning.
These projects are by no means a comprehensive list of the work of civil society. This list represents a small selection of organisations that will be updated from time to time
In the villages of Tsholomnqa in East London, ECD practitioners are supported through practical training and mentoring to improve the quality of early learning in rural communities. Practitioners are better prepared for partial care registration so that the government knows about their centres, which is a pre-requisite to receiving state subsidies. The institute also promotes advocacy and awareness around the need for quality ECD and the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
The foundation aims to transform the ECD sector by establishing and coordinating a cohesive ECD network in an area where support and resources are lacking. The foundation builds relationships between organisations through networking – it assists them with registration, access to information and funding, as well as the provision of teacher training and ECD infrastructure to create safe environments for children.
With a strong focus on the importance of the parent-child relationship, the Mikhulu Trust helps children reach their milestones with the support of their parents and families. The Mikhulu Trust also conducts research to support interventions, runs programmes and projects to support ECD centres and parents, and facilitates book-sharing networks.
Through their home visiting programmes, Dlalanathi aims to improve maternal well-being and children’s early development outcomes. Using play therapy to provide psychosocial support for communities in Pietermaritzburg, Dlalanathi has fostered healing for countless families. With their unique approach, they provide support not only for children but for the adults that care for them too, equipping them with the tools to better support children through their healing process.
There are many things that we can do to improve South Africa but trying to figure out where to start can be overwhelming. We’ve created practical guides to help you make a meaningful difference as an individual or organisation. Even the smallest actions can contribute. Get involved, there’s no time like the present!
We offer a host of practical ideas, tools and inspiration that you or your organisation can use to start creating change in your community – and ultimately for this country.