The MASICORP Seedlings Project is an initiative to help raise standards of care and learning outcomes for children age 1 to 6 attending the Masiphumelele township’s educare/crèche (daycare) facilities.
ECD (Early Childhood Development) – generally age 0 to 6 – is considered by experts to be the most crucial stage in life, a stage that has more influence on thefuture wellbeing and learning prospects of an individual than any other throughout life.
The Seedlings Project aims to improve the provision of ECD in Masiphumelele where the present standards in the educare/crèches range between good and appalling. We estimate there are about 2500 children between the age of 1 and 6 years in Masiphumelele. The number grows by approximately 10% per annum. Of these we estimate 1500 children currently attend an educare/crèche in the township.
Only 4 of the 30 educare/crèches in Masiphumelele are registered with DSD [Department of Social Development] and comply with the required standards. Of these only 3 are in receipt of the DSD financial subsidy. They provide a good standard of ECD care to in total, to about 350 of the 1500 children currently attending an educare/crèche in the township.
About 1000 children not in a educare/crèche at all and are cared for by a parent or relative at home or by a neighbour or, if their parents are at work/seeking work, some [not many] are not cared for and left at home or on the street unsupervised.
Many educare/crèches in the intermediate and informal groups operate in appalling conditions and suffer from one or more of the following:
- severe lack of space
- poor physical conditions (buildings and hygiene)
- lack of appropriate staff numbers and training
- little or no education provision
- no food for the children
- not financially stable
Fully funded, the Seedlings project will:
- provide 2000 children, currently housed in very poor conditions, a place in a well-run, well equipped educare/crèche
- significantly uplift the standard of ECD in the township · create up to 10 refurbished existing educare/crèches, 8 converted from existing houses and 7 new-build on land purchased for the purpose.
- establish all the above 25 units as viable and sustainable microenterprises
- provide a make-over upgrade for all remaining informal educare/crèches where it is not possible to do anything else
- provide ECD education and on-going mentoring for all owner/operators and all staff employed