Early Childhood Development expert Ntataise has secured educational resources and equipment worth nearly R1m to assist community ECD programmes in some of South Africa’s poorest communities.
The stimulation of young minds is a vital precursor to educational achievement, economic participation and long-term health.
A big challenge to childhood development in South Africa is a scarcity of age-appropriate, durable and adequate educational toys and resources.
Founded in 1980, Ntataise, which means “to lead a young child by the hand”, was created to help women in disadvantaged areas of the Free State establish ECD programmes in their community.
Over 40 years, Ntataise, with its network of 20 affiliate organisations, has grown to extend support to about 3,000 programmes across the country.
“The equipment and toys that include weight scales, books, puzzles, skipping ropes and balls will be distributed to 55 ECD facilities in Gauteng, the Free State and Mpumalanga,” Ntataise executive director Sarah McGuigan says.
The benefits of ECD can have a telling effect on a child’s development into adulthood, McGuigan says. “It can mean closing the poverty gap and working to fight inequality in the long run by levelling the playing field.”
In January, Ntataise put together a selection of essential educational toys, materials and equipment suited to children from birth to six years old.
Ford Credit, the finance arm of Ford Motor Company in South Africa, funded the purchase of the toys and equipment.
“We were able to put together a resource pack of educational toys, equipment and books to equip 55 ECD programmes,” McGuigan says.
Each pack has items for indoor and outdoor play that contribute to children’s cognitive, language, physical and social-emotional development.
Besides the funds, Ford Credit donated a new Ford EcoSport to Ntataise.
The car is being put to good use supporting ECD programmes across the country, McGuidan says.
Ford Credit SA risk manager James Segal says “being a responsible corporate citizen means playing an active role in addressing the many challenges South Africans face”.