‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and we cannot disrupt the Early Childhood Development process without addressing the supporting structures, the main one being the child’s parents , as role models and leaders of these young children. We see the need for intervention into the unsustainable lifestyles of marginalised communities in order to provide education, hope and opportunity to the next generation.
Our national unemployment rate is 25%2. Low Skilled Wages in South Africa averaged 2833.33 ZAR/Month2 from 2015. Apart from equipping people with the right skills to be employable, we desperately need to see more entrepreneurship to drive the country out of economic gloom. The results of Adult Education endeavours are often not sufficient for potential employers to consider potential employees as fit for their work.
The Solution within the School:
Effective ECD interventions provide economic opportunities for the principals and teachers by creating jobs opportunities and socio-economic development and growth. Through training, ECD interventions give beneficiaries the chance to become self-sufficient principals and teachers, as well as entrepreneurs in their own right, managing their own small social enterprises. Since 1994, 24 000 ECD centres have been established in South Africa without Government support or financial assistance.
More than just providing this form of socio-economic empowerment, ECD interventions provide a foundation of learning for the children involved, creating a solid foundation for the work-force of the future.
The School within the Community:
Learning In Reach proposes to extend this entrepreneurial opportunity to encompass a socio-economic co-operative. The parents of the children attending the facilities often face unemployment or low-wage employment. Since our goal is to offer an education to their children of equal value to more affluent suburbs, we will offer an “in-kind” payment option engaging the parents who cannot pay the higher school fees. We will do this through training and community service providing essential services and support to the ECD centre, manufacturing educational resources and materials, and creating a lifestyle product range for online or physical stores, helping in the sustainability of the proposed eco-system.
Since the ECD is only utilised during the day, there is an opportunity to use the facility for additional evening and weekend adult education classes, providing parents with the further skills needed to improve their lives, and those of their children. This entrepreneurial hub will be created through hands on mentorship and providing a supportive, creative environment.
Primary children roaming the streets in the afternoons can find refuge in a safe space and take part in the constructive activity run by the co-operative including gardening, art, woodworking and computer skills.