October Newsletter 2015

Education Gives you Wings

Newspaper Advert October v5Thandanani has always recognised the importance of education, especially for the many vulnerable children we work with.

Approximately 68% of South African children under the age of 4 are not in Early Learning Centres or crèches, but are at home with a primary caregiver. When one considers that almost 80% of a child’s brain potential is achieved by the age of four, this is a fundamentally important time for these children in terms of their early stimulation & development.

Similarly it is well known that completing schooling significantly impacts on the longer term economic prospects and well-being of an individual. But while 99% of children in South Africa aged 7 to 13 are reported to be attending school, the attendance rate begins to drop from age 14 onwards and decreases more steeply from age 16 onwards. In 2012, 290,000 children of school going age were reported not to be attending school.

When families are unable to provide for the basic needs of their children, or when children are rendered vulnerable by the loss of one or more of their parents or a similar trauma the risk of children dropping out of school is significantly increased.

This is why Thandanani places significant emphasis on schooling in the work that we do. It is also the reason why we form partnerships with local schools, businesses and other organisations to promote education within the communities in which we work. This newsletter highlights some of our efforts in this regard. We hope that you enjoy the read!

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Thandanani Introduces Home Based ECD Activities

For some time now Thandanani has wanted to expand its OVC Family Strengthening Model by introducing activities aimed at enhancing the cognitive well-being and development of young children.

In the last few months we have developed a home based early childhood development (ECD) program with the help of dlalanathi & Singakwenza – two local organisations with extensive ECD experience – and will be rolling this program out between October 2015 and September 2017.

The overall aim of the program is to positively impact on the cognitive; emotional, physical & social well-being of children in the critical early stages of their development by creating an understanding of basic early childhood development concepts and a culture of intentional engagement by caregivers of their children within the context of their own homes.

The programme is exciting as it involves teaching caregivers the importance of play and demonstrating how they can use play to enhance their child’s development. Also exciting is the fact that the program will teach caregivers how to make educational toys and games using waste materials and everyday objects they have in the home!

In the months ahead, we look forward to seeing caregivers spending more time intentionally playing with and developing their children as a result of this program!

Click here for more information about dlalanathi and Singakwenza our partners in this program.

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Thandanani Staff & Fieldworkers Receive Training in ECD

In anticipation of the introduction of home based Early Childhood Development (ECD) activities in our work, Thandanani staff and fieldworkers have begun receiving training in child development.

Our fieldworkers have now all completed introductory training in ECD concepts and practice through Siphakeme while two staff members, who received bursaries from the Durban Thekwini Education Trust to undertake formal ECD studies through the Caversham Education Institute, are busy completing their first year of study.

We sat down with Mandisa Moloi, Busisiswe Phiri and Nokholiseko Ram and spoke to them about their training; how they feel it has helped and what they have learned.

All three were excited about the training and its potential impact in the work that they do. All indicated that they had a new appreciation of the significance of early childhood and its importance in development. They said they thoroughly enjoyed their training and gained significant insight into child development and how to stimulate children in the early stages of their development. They highlighted the need for patience and the importance of connecting with the child and building a trusting relationship.

In terms of their current work they now feel they have the knowledge and confidence to be able to talk to caregivers about their child’s development and to teach these parents how to positively engage with and stimulate their children. They also said that the relationship with their own children had grown as they now spend more time with them, listening and understanding them.

This bodes well for Thandanani as we begin to introduce ECD activities into our work with families.

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A Community Creche gets a “Make Over”

Each year Grade 10 learners from Epworth Independent Girls High, with sponsorship from Deloitte, partner with Thandanani to give an under resourced school or crèche a “Make-Over”.

This year it was the turn of the Mpumuza Community Crèche to receive a much needed make-over. Before the make-over the crèche only had 15 children enrolled and, while they had a decent sized building, they had little in the way of equipment & resources and the building itself was in need of repairs and maintenance.

Epworth and Deloitte took up the challenge of transforming this crèche into a child friendly resource for the Mpumuza community. They spent four days on site painting, cleaning, fixing and building under the guidance of African Exposure staff who handled all the on-site logistics.

The crèche was completely transformed in these four days. It is now a beautiful child friendly space – somewhere where parents will want to send their children. In fact reports indicate that enrolment at the crèche has double to 30 children since the Make Over and we hope to see this increase further in 2016!

1KlmlVzGdWB_Ox_uibIgZb9Nj3lkC4ToQwWRevqxGFQEpworth learners gained a great deal from the experience too! This is what some of them had to say:

“I would do it all over again any day. The Crèche experience definitely touched me and made me realise how privileged I am.”

“In every community, there is work to be done. In every community, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”

“Stepping out of our comfort zone and doing something eye opening was heart warming.”

“Seeing how happy the children were at our simple gifts of toys made from recycled goods made us realize how much we take for granted and little things can mean so much.”

We would love to expand on this project and be able to target more schools and crèches in need. So, if you are a teacher at a local school or work in an organisation that would like to help, you can find out more about this initiative by contacting Jess McTaggart (4kids@thandanani.org.za) for more details

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Kids-4Kids School Challenge

DSC07296At the beginning of August, Epworth learners also took up Thandanani’s “Change 4Kids” School Challenge to raise funds 4Kids.

The “Change 4Kids” Challenge involves learners filling up as many money boxes as they can with small change. The money raised will be used to provide much needed services to the many children and families that Thandanani supports. Epworth learners have been doing a great job so far and we are so grateful for their commitment and enthusiasm in this project.

We would love to expand on this project and be able to target more schools and crèches in need. So, if you are a teacher at a local school or work in an organisation that would like to help, you can find out more about this initiative by contacting Jess McTaggart (4kids@thandanani.org.za) for more details.

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Clothes 4Kids:Cordwalles Learners

The sweet and generous boys from Cordwalles School collected clothes 4Kids during this last term. Not only did they each collect an outfit and label it by age and gender but they also took the time to wrap these as gifts for the children that Thandanani supports.  Many of these children would never have received a beautifully wrapped gift before and this caring touch from the Cordwalles boys has certainly brought a huge smile to the faces of those lucky enough to have received one of these special gifts. So a big “thank you” to all the Cordwalles boys for your kindness and creativity!

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Scarves 4Kids: Merchiston Aftercare Staff

imagesThe Staff at Merchiston’s Aftercare have been knitting 4Kids all winter.  They have been knitting brightly coloured scarves and collecting household groceries for the children and families that Thandanani supports. Thandanani has already received packet loads of scarves from these wonderful ladies and they just keep on knitting!! Once again, a big thank you for your “Blue Heart” generosity!

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Blankets 4Kids: St Johns Learners

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Inspired by “67 minutes for Mandela’’, St John’s D.S.G. started knitting and crocheting colourful squares. The squares were then placed in designated boxes, and Di Woodraffe, the Accounting teacher and instigator of all this activity, faced the huge task of sewing them all together. The project started with the intention of making as many blankets as possible and by the end of it there were exactly 67 blankets. Mandela’s spirit clearly guided them through. Thank you to all St John’s learners and staff for your support of the Mandela Day initiative and for choosing Thandanani as a beneficiary!

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Open Day

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Thandanani would like to extend its appreciation to all those who attended our recent open day including our partners: Ethembeni, Dlalanathi, Singakwenza, Lifeline, AFSA, Youth for Christ, SchoolTrade and Umvoti Aids Centre. The day was well attended and enjoyed by all. We even ran a raffle with great prizes sponsored by Cranford Country Lodge, St. Ives Restaurant and Wedding Venue, Blackwoods Nursery, Capitol Caterers, Parklane Spar, Victoria Pick n Pay, Bella Vie Salon, Sagewood Café, Liberty Midlands Mall and Lotus Stationers. Thank you all and congratulations to all the prize winners!

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Shop & Give

4kids Giving Logo - Shop&GiveWe are excited to announce another giving option on our 4Kids website – product related giving. This is where we list ways you can contribute to our work simply by swiping your loyalty card or by buying particular products.

Thandanani is already listed as a MySchool / MyVillage beneficiary. If you are a regular shopper at places like Woolworths; Food Lovers Market; Engen and many others; please consider getting a MySchool/MyVillage card and linking Thandanani Children’s Foundation as your chosen beneficiary. Each time you swipe your card we will then receive a contribution towards our work with Kids at absolutely no cost to you! For more info please visit http://www.myschool.co.za

A similar initiative is that of Litres for Education. This is a relatively new initiative which contributes 10c per litre to good causes like Thandanani every time you put petrol into your car. Once again, at no cost to you! To find out more about this new initiative and to sign up for your Litres for Education disc please visit http://litresforeducation.co.za or visit www.4kids.org.za or simply print and cut out the one provided her.

Thandanani is also a listed beneficiary of the Boxer’s loyalty program so if you are a regular shopper at Boxer stores please get yourself an Ubuntu Community Card and list Thandanani Children’s Foundation as your chosen beneficiary.  Each time you shop and swipe the kids we support will benefit. To sign up for a Boxer’s Ubuntu Card please click here.

Andre’ van der Hoven Comrie of Positive Options is a local distributor of GNLD health products. She has committed a percentage of a certain product called Pro Vitality Life to support 4Kids. To find out more about this product or to purchase online please visit positiveoptions.gnld.net/ or contact Andre’ by clicking here.

If you have a loyalty program and would like 4Kids to benefit from it or if you would like to contribute a percentage of your product sales in support of 4Kids please contact Jess McTaggart (4kids@thandanani.org.za) for more information.