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Provantage Media Group invests in early childhood development

‘For nations, the price of not investing in early moments is children with poorer health, fewer learning skills and reduced earning potential,’ states the UNICEF report “Early moments matter for every child”. ‘It is a weaker economy and a greater burden on health, education and welfare systems. It is intergenerational cycles of disadvantage that hinder equitable growth and prosperity. For children, especially children from disadvantaged communities, the price of this failure is lost potential.’

PMG believes that this price is too high, and that it is therefore critical to invest in the early development of our country’s children. Research shows that interventions during a child’s formative years – the earlier, the better – lead to improved outcomes in everything from mental and physical health, to levels of educational attainment and earning potential, all the way through to lower crime rates[1] and beyond. Our children are quite literally, our future; our prospects depend on whether we neglect or nurture them.

This is why PMG has chosen to support the Ekukhanyeni Relief Project, an organisation that has been actively promoting early childhood development – along with food and nutrition security – since 2005.

Ekukhanyeni Relief Project

Founded by Liza Rossi, Ekukhanyeni Relief Project operates primarily in the informal settlements of Lawley and Kokotela, south of Johannesburg. Their ECD centres provide the only formalised education available within these severely under-resourced communities.

Since 2005, they have reached 13 457 children through their programmes, with 6 454 children aged 4-6 years educated through their Early Learning classes, 3 421 through Grade R, and 3 035 through Grade RR – achieving 84.4% school readiness since 2011.

Each year, 99 female ECD Practitioners are upskilled and are employed in the ECD centres. This is a huge achievement – but with so many children needing support, the project must keep growing.

‘Our interventions fully satisfy our nation-building economic, social and environmental sustainability pillars,’ Liza Rossi explains. ‘But what about the power and potential of the human spirit? It is well known to also be a pillar of sustainability but much less spoken about. That’s what we do.  We sustain, nurture and nourish the human spirit. We bring about a sense of connectedness, hope, collective good will, and deep belief in the enduring human values of love and human dignity. We are overjoyed that PMG are now a part of our unique legacy that speaks to a Higher Purpose as we nurture our children for tomorrow to nation build, to correct the imbalances of our past and to lessen the economic disparity in our beloved country.’

Ten more ECD centres of excellence

Ekukhanyeni is expanding, adding ten more under-resourced and fledgling ECD centres to its current network of 33 centres.  The project will convert these to ECD centres of excellence, substantially upgrading the level of education and care their children receive.

The project will upskill the owners/operators of these centres, empowering them to run their social enterprises more effectively and to create employment within the community. It will also oversee the skills development training of ECD teachers to better nurture and educate the children in their care, thereby furthering their future career potential.

In doing so, Ekukhanyeni’s expansion project will ensure access to quality early education and care for an additional 206 vulnerable children each year, so that 1 030 more children are ultimately nurtured, fed and educated over a five-year period. It will also provide skills development and employment for 50 women each year.

To help Ekukhanyeni grow, PMG will provide financial support for two of these ten additional ECD centres.

Investing in what matters – and what works

PMG is committed to helping to build a better future for South Africa, and believes that the best way to do this is by investing in the education and wellbeing of our youngest citizens.

‘Protecting and developing young children is a good in itself,’ says Chris Hitchings, PMG’s Director: Human Capital and Special Projects. ‘It is also a way to break the cycles of poverty and inequality, and to nurture a healthy, happy society in future. We want to contribute to realising a country of healthy, talented and resourceful citizens. As such, we’re honoured to support the incredible work the Ekukhanyeni Relief Project does. This is a way to invest in what matters and what works.’

[1] https://www.unicef.org/media/48886/file/UNICEF_Early_Moments_Matter_for_Every_Child-ENG.pdf

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