Standard Bank’s corporate social investment continues to make a meaningful change in advancing education in the lives of underprivileged children by partnering with early childhood development (ECD) practitioners in rural communities throughout South Africa.
Standard Bank funds Edutainers in Pongola Free State and Mzinti Mpumalanga
With funding support from Standard Bank, Sebofon, a non-profit company (NPC) that works in Pongola and Ntataise Lowveld, a provider of ECD programmes in the form of playgroups in Mpumalanga, have made it possible for children coming from financially disadvantaged families to have access to early learning.
Kirston Greenop, Standard Bank’s Head: Regulatory Advocacy, Stakeholder Engagement and Corporate Social Investment (CSI), says: “Standard Bank has always understood that quality ECD provides persistent, life-long benefits to children and society long after they have left preschool. Backed by research that shows early learning interventions boost socio-emotional skills, we have dedicated Standard Bank’s CSI endeavours to tackling ECD-related challenges head-on by partnering with organisations such as Sebofon and Ntataise that can make a real impact in the communities they operate in.”
Creating communities that nurture children
The first 1 000 days in a child’s life could unlock their life-long potential. By age 5, almost 90% of a child’s brain will be developed. These are the formative years where factors such as adequate healthcare, good nutrition, quality childcare and nurturing, a clean and safe environment, early learning, and stimulation will largely influence a child’s future as an adult. Partnerships between Standard Bank and grassroots organisations such as Sebofon and Ntataise make it possible for children to access these critical factors that could impact the direction of their lives. Sebofon is a specialist in early childhood education (ECE) with expertise in socio-educational support and intervention for children up to the age of 9. Sebofon has spent the last three years providing an educational improvement intervention for ECD practitioners, parents, and caregivers in Pongola.
In support of Sebofon’s aims to upskill primary care givers, Standard Bank donated two “Edutainers” (mobile ECD centres) on 16th November in partnership with The BrightKids Foundation. This donation was directly linked to the bank’s 160th birthday celebrations in October where clients and staff were called upon to share their “Reasons to Believe in Africa” For each reason shared, Standard Bank donated R160 to build early childhood development (ECD) centres. The “Edutainers” in Pongola are fully equipped instant classrooms built from repurposed 12-metre containers that can accommodate 25 children. Ntataise Lowveld prioritises the research-backed outcomes of learning through play by providing access to ECD-aligned playgroups hosted in safe and secure spaces where young children in the rural communities of Nkomazi and Mbombela also get a nutritious breakfast upon arrival and a healthy snack before they depart three times a week for four hours a day.