Workshop near Ladysmith to provide children and grandchildren with a better start in life

Let's make skipping ropes

Thandi Mahlaba is a young woman who lives in Entokozweni Township in Van Reenen and has a highly developed sense of responsibility towards her community.

She started and is chairperson of a group of volunteer women called Siyathuthuko Centre, whose mission is to help elderly people and children from disadvantaged homes and backgrounds.

They assist the aged by helping to clean their homes, helping with laundry and ensuring that they take their medication regularly.

A vegetable-growing project will help with a feeding scheme for the elderly and children, some of whom only get a daily meal at school.

Thandi is studying Early Childhood Development and on Tuesday, October 31, N3 Gateway Tourism Association facilitated a ‘Waste2Toys Workshop’ at the community centre in Entokozweni.

The workshop was run by Slindile Chamane and Joseph Mohlakoana from Singakwenza in Hilton. Singakwenza means “We can do it!” in isiZulu and is an NGO that aims to build sustainable early childhood education programmes in economically disadvantaged communities.

The organisation uses resources solely from recycling to help caregivers provide fun, educational activities that enable young children to learn through play.

Singakwenza runs workshops throughout South Africa and other countries, where access to resources is limited.

The organisation is supported by N3 Toll Concession (N3TC).

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood” – an appropriate quote from Fred Rogers.

The four-hour workshop was attended by 30 mothers and ‘gogos’ from Van Reenen and its surrounds, who were taught how to make items that assist with the development of gross motor skills to control the large muscles of the body. Materials used included plastic bottles, toilet roll cores, cold drink bottles, egg boxes, yoghurt containers, bread bags and grocery bags.

The participants were taught how to make various educational toys and teaching materials, including balls, skittles, catchers, measuring containers, building blocks, hoopla and skipping ropes.

There was a general air of excitement in the group as they began to realise that they were being empowered to provide children and grandchildren with a better start in life by improving their ability to learn.

The workshop was rounded off by a luncheon, sponsored by N3 Gateway.

It is hoped that workshops for fine motor skills and numeracy will be run in 2018.

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Nameera Sarjoo

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