Debenek reaches out..
Date Released: Thu, 19 May 2011 15:36 +0200
About 130 km from Grahamstown nestled in the Keiskammahoek area, lies Debe nek. About 20 smaller settlements scattered around a 15km radius make up this town and the nearest big town is King Williams Town 30km away. In 2008 the Centre for Social Development (CSD) conducted Level 4 training for 20 Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners, sponsored by African Bank. All the practitioners trained are still involved in the various ECD centres around Debe nek. Prior to that training and since then no other practitioners have been trained. In an urgent appeal for assistance, a group of 28 women have contacted the CSD to offer a similar Level 4 training in their community. The meeting was facilitated by Kholiswa Sitshololo, a Debe nek local who is currently undergoing Level 4 training at the CSD’s training venue in Grahamstown.
Some of these women are working at ECD centres where the parents pay as little as R5 a month, because this is all that they can afford. In addition these centres are poorly resourced and lack basic facilities. During the 2008 training, parent and community committees were established by the CSD ECD coordinator Ruth Nombewu as part of the training. This is an essential part of the CSD’s approach to ECD, where the education of the child is not looked at in isolation from the parents and the communities. The role of these committees is to support the ECD practitioner both inside and outside the classroom to the benefit of the children. After one such meeting convened by Ruth,
parents banded together to build a pit toilet for the crèche because there were no toilets. Today the crèche boasts outside play equipment made from old tyres and wood and they have new toilet facilities, all built by the parents.
Wherever possible, training is made as affordable as possible and costs are kept to a minimum to allow people access to the CSD courses. However the challenge of fundraising remains an issue for the centre; however the centre remains committed to the development of our country by training ECD practitioners to provide quality training programmes to our children to enable them to become the future leaders of South Africa.