Grahamstown Preschool Places

Preschool places for needy children in the Grahamstown area

Poverty and AIDS mean that the number of orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa is increasing. Early childhood stimulation plays a key role in developing people’s full potential, but the government cannot provide all the funding needed. Registered community preschools receive some subsidy but still have to charge fees to cover their costs. The fees are only about R100 (£8) per month, but are still of reach of many families - especially because the mother is often either terminally ill or has died, the father is absent and the grandmother or another relative is taking care of the child.

The Centre for Social Development (CSD), attached to Rhodes University in Grahamstown, promotes early childhood development and community development in disadvantaged areas. The CSD has established preschools, which it supports by training Community Development practitioners and channelling donations. These preschools provide educational stimulation, socialisation benefits, and physical benefits, as the children receive two nutritious meals per day.

The children who would benefit most from attending preschools are identified by staff of the Grahamstown Hospice, which works with children affected by HIV/AIDS and terminal illnesses in their families, and by the CSD’s own Community Development practitioners, who are based in particular communities and know the children and families well.
The annual cost to fund each place at a preschool is about £125, including all the administration costs. This project was the focus of Thembisa’s fund-rasing in 2010. We raised £2500, which benefitted about 25 children at the prevailing costs. For 2011 we are again aiming to raise a minimum of £2500, in order to benefit a minimum of 20 children.