Nurturing and supportive parenting during the first years of a child’s life has positive effects on the child’s social, emotional and intellectual development, however most families under stress often struggle to provide this. Sikhula Sonke in Khayelitsha provides a quality programme, The Family and Community Motivators Programme, to support parents and primary caregivers to help young children achieve their potential during their Early Childhood Development (ECD) years.
Pearl Mphuthi, FNB Fund Manager says, “The FNB Fund along with Sikhula Sonke recognizes that many parents and care-givers struggle to give their children the support and guidance needed to get them through their ECD years. Programmes that support parents and care-givers are vital if South Africa’s youth are to achieve their full potential.”
Mdebuka Mtwazi, Executive Director of Sikhula Sonke says, “The implementation of this programme is driven by the need to support vulnerable children and families in the communities that it serves. The organisation believes that all caregivers and parents should be informed, involved and supported in nurturing and enhancing the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of their children.” It is for that reason that we commend and applaud these caregivers for the role that they play in the development of their own children despite all the complex societal problems that they are facing every day. FNB is a crucial partner in this intervention as it provides resources for the implementation programme at each household.
The programme provides a primary level of intervention for care and support for the family at a household level. It is estimated that 50% of young children’s early childhood care and development interventions take place at home, through the efforts of parents, extended family members, older siblings and other caregivers.
“At this level, the following needs of young children should be met: psycho-social care and support, adequate food and good nutrition, breastfeeding, opportunities for socialisation, safe housing, safe water, good hygiene, birth registration, stimulation and play,” says Mtwazi.
The year-long programme was developed as a means of reaching out to the high numbers of young children in informal settlements and townships who were not accessing any form of ECD service. The keystone of the programme is the vitally important role of the home and family in the growth and development of a child.
Mtwazi says that to date, the programme has had an impact on 348 households and 430 children.
“We believe that programmes such as these are vital if young South Africans are to achieve their full potential. Sikhula Sonke’s Family and Community Motivators Programme is an essential part in the lives of the children that participate, as a child who has been properly prepared for life is socially and emotionally healthy, confident and friendly,” concludes Mphuthi.