The key to making Masiphumelele’s creches sustainable is to get them registered with the Department of Social Development so that a government subsidy can be received for each child. To date only six of the 27 creches in the township are registered. We have previously reported on the building and maintenance work that Masicorp is coordinating at crèches such as Masi Educare and Ekhaya Lothando. However, registration is not just a matter of improved infrastructure. The Department of Social Development also require the staff at each crèche to be fully qualified before they will consider registration. This is fully understandable but is a problem in Masiphumelele where many crèches are run by well-meaning but unqualified mothers from the community.
To address this Masicorp has recently started a new initiative to train the teachers at selected crèches. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Unlimited Child NGO with Nadia Lubowski from The Anton Lubowski Educational Trust doing the teacher training. The Unlimited Child directly promotes Early Childhood Development (ECD) by providing educational toys and caregiver training to underprivileged crèches. They have successfully worked with over 300 creches in the Durban area and are now bringing their expertise to the Western Cape. The Anton Lubowski Educational Trust offer courses are aimed at parents and caregivers of young children with an emphasis on developing emotional intelligence and self-discipline, as well as early language and literacy.
Nadia Lubowski and Grant Abernathy from the two partner organisations visited some of the crèches with Masicorp volunteer Sophie Billington and selected five to pilot the programme. With the help of these two very experienced partners an initial pilot programme of twelve sessions began in late November. Another partner, Goodsport, are training the ladies to provide a physical training programme for the children. Masicorp will study the developmental changes in the kids over a year. If the pilot is a success as measured by the children’s developmental assessments in 2014 then Unlimited Child will hopefully agree to train all of the creches and also get the course accredited. The first two sessions have been a huge success and we hope this will be another step towards the formal registration of more of Masiphumelele’s crèches.