Singakwenza, meaning “We can do it!”, is a non-profit organisation which aims to build sustainable Early Childhood Education programmes in economically disadvantaged communities, using recycling to make resources.
We focus on the critical development years in a child’s life (between 1 and 5 years).
Research around the world has shown that the best way to break the poverty cycle is through education, but our South African education system is in a crisis:
• Less than 50% of the children who start Grade 1 make it to Matric.
• Of those who do stay in school until Matric, a quarter of them are not able to attain the 30% pass mark.
• The Annual National Assessment (ANA) results every year show that the average Maths result of a child in Grade 5 is between 30 and 40%, and by Grade 9 is between 10 and 20%.
• The World Economic Forum has consistently placed South Africa last in the world in Maths and Science education.
How do we change this?
Our young children, whether they are at home or in a crèche, need to have access to:
1) educators, caregivers and parents who understand that they are the key to their child’s educational success, and
2) educational toys.
But with an estimated 5,7 million children under the age of 4 in South Africa, the time when almost 80% of a child’s brain potential is developed, how do we help to transform empty crèches and homes into environments filled with enough equipment to ensure busy, happy, stimulated children? If we provide purchased educational toys, who would replace them if they got lost or broken? And how would we get these toys into all the homes of the children who really need them?
Singakwenza decided that a creative and sustainable solution to this problem was needed, and developed a whole range of educational toys that teach the same concepts as purchased toys, but for zero cost.
The parent or educator only needs a pair of sharp scissors and a marker pen and she will be able to get all the rest of the materials needed to provide an educational, fun-filled environment for the children in her care - from the bin!
Bread bags now become skipping ropes, margarine containers become cars, polystyrene trays become puzzles, yoghurt containers become shape sorters and cereal boxes become dice. And if the toy breaks, it is easy (and free!) to make another one.
In addition, packaging that would usually be thrown away now has a value for both adults and children, so the programme is good for the environment too.
We currently offer a training and mentorship programme to 63 crèche teachers and primary caregivers in 16 crèches in and around the Pietermaritzburg area, helping them to understand how to use these toys to provide a stimulating, educational environment for their children. This ensures that these children enter school intellectually, physically and developmentally prepared.
We also run Waste 2 Toys workshops throughout Southern Africa, teaching parents, educators and caregivers how they can provide fun, stimulating activities that cost nothing, yet build vital foundations.
Click here to watch a brief overview of our programme in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOnvE_py2AQ
or read more about us on our website: www.singakwenza.org. Singakwenza
is a fully registered Non Profit Company, so we are able to issue Section 18A tax certificates, and a Public Benefit Organisation with >75% Black Beneficiaries, for companies needing SED and ED points for their B-BBEE scorecards. We are also an Empowering Supplier with a Level 1 B-BBEE rating.