Chidiya's ECD (early childhood development)- centre is a response to the growing need for quality education, and a tool to elevate the general standards of the local community. We believe that the most efficient approach to change begins with the youngest, as their brains are developing faster than in any other stage of life. Proper nutrition, sanitation, safety and secure attachments in these years are crucial to healthy growth and development. The first years lay the foundation for the rest of our lives, and quality ECD- focused care can build a solid foundation for future learning.
Insufficient nutrition plays a major role in improper development. Approx. 2/3 of pre- school aged children in South Africa suffer from anaemia, and over 1/3 of the children in Gauteng are stunted. Chidiya provides balanced meals for the children, and tailors individual nutritional plans for the children with specific deficiencies and needs.
Children in the Orange Farm community lack access to early educational development due to poverty. As a result, the majority remain at risk of falling behind during toddlerhood and staying behind when they reach primary school age. To remedy the problem, Chidiya offers ECD-centred day care to the most disadvantaged children. In cooperation with the members of the community, we have identified 32 children whose families we believe would mostly benefit from our service.
Chidiya's educational program targets children age 1 - 5 years. We monitor the children's cognitive, psychological and physical development, according to universal developmental milestones. Whenever we encounter a significant delay, we focus on activities that encourage growth in the particular area, and by advising the parents on how they can contribute to filling the gap at home. If there is no improvement, we seek external advice. We place a lot of focus on meeting the children's emotional needs, and teaching them how to healthily and appropriately express their feelings.
Violence and crime remain a huge problem in areas like Orange Farm, and as a result, many of the children in our care have been impacted by trauma. We have identified a need for increased knowledge around mental health, especially in relation to children. Our aim is to raise awareness in this regard, starting with our children and their families.
Multidimensional poverty affects many areas of a child's life, that can potentially have irreversible consequences for their lives. We believe that education is a key to conquering poverty, and by focusing on ECD, we can provide the tools which children need to complete their education.