For the nation to truly achieve its goal of uplifting all its citizens, every child needs to be provided with a solid foundation in education. Unfortunately, vast socio-economic inequalities, compounded by the arrival of Covid-19, are leaving too many children without this life-changing opportunity.
Zero2Five and Nyala upgrade ECDs
To address this disparity, non-profit organisation, Zero2Five, is partnering with Nyala to upgrade nine Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The upgrade between August and October will benefit 327 young lives.
Julika Falconer, CEO of Zero2Five Trust, explained their drive to provide this quality educational grounding: “A child’s early years are the foundation for his or her future development. This creates a strong base for lifelong learning and learning abilities, including cognitive and social development.”
Early education essential
She said this is supported by established research that emphasizes the importance of early childhood education: “This is an essential building block of a child’s future success, his or her role in society and ultimately his or her contribution to the economy at large. Quality ECD services in South Africa cannot only be seen as the starting block for a child’s future but also for a golden opportunity to contribute bridging the ever-widening inequality gap in the country.”
Zero2Five promotes holistic ECD in formerly disadvantaged areas by improving the outcomes of school-goers through holistic nutrition and education programmes. The NPO currently supports 313 ECD centres, helping children achieve developmental milestones in formative years so that they can achieve their full potential later.
Nine KZN ECDs upgraded
Committed to uplifting local communities, local brand, Nyala, has committed around R240 000 to the upgrade of nine ECDs located in uMlalazi and uMzimkhulu municipalities. The nine selected ECDs include Nkapha Pre-school, Masiyenze Pre-School, Thandanani Pre-School, Zamisizwe Pre-School, Umzamo Crèche, Little Bears Crèche, Nkululeko Crèche, Sezokuhle Crèche, Siyakhula Crèche.
In addition to the three-month upgrade project of the 9 ECD centres, Nyala has donated five tons of fortified maize, the equivalent of 100 000 meals, for 44 ECD sites in these two areas with a total of 832 children in their care.
The Nyala financial contribution will go towards the installation of flush toilets, the building or upgrading of fencing, gates and roofing, as well as the contribution of educational toys and playground equipment. While safety is always a priority at these premises, a stark lack of budget often means that the correct equipment doesn’t get installed or existing equipment falls into disrepair.
Commenting on the donation, Slindile Cebekhulu, from the Umzamo ECD centre in Eshowe, said: “Our children will be able to learn and play safely, and staff will be able to focus on teaching and preparing them for school.”
A safe place to learn
Falconer, agreed, saying the upgrades will ensure a safe space for learning through play: “Fences minimise the risk of children wandering away and decrease the chance of abduction. Having child-friendly toilets will reduce the risk of children falling into pit toilets and improve hygiene dramatically. This, in turn, will prevent illness, improves overall health and the children’s ability to learn. We outsource all our ECD centre infrastructure upgrades to our partner organisation Impande from Port Shepstone, they know the needs and challenges of ECD sites best”
Sibongile Mooko, Marketing Executive at Premier FMCG, said the importance of these initial years cannot be overstated: “By upgrading these key facilities, we are giving these children a chance at a better education, and thus a better future.”