Our partners in KZN
One of the exciting developments for Devon Centocow Link since becoming a registered charity is the potential for learning from and engaging with our partner non-profit organisations. This opportunity gives us further scope for assisting in new ventures as well as benefitting our current projects.
When I first visited Centocow in 2001 the Family Literacy Project was new but rapidly expanding. The project set out to improve child literacy skills by encouraging participation in early learning at home. This led to groups of women wanting to improve their reading skills. Groups of rural women met together and learnt to read and enjoy the benefits of having books in the household. Discussions emerged based on articles, child protection, health and parenting skills. By the time of my next visit in 2005 the first community libraries were set up and I was able to visit two in the Centocow area.
The organisation has gone from strength to strength. Outreach workers were trained and the projects now includes group reading clubs for children, newsletters and home visits to families, counselling and support for teenage girls and bursaries for higher level students.
The Family Literacy Project is based at Underberg some 30 miles from Centocow but Zimbile Dlamini, the co-ordinator comes from a village not far from Centocow. I met her in the early days of the project when she was involved in setting up the local community library.
Working with the Pre-Schools
We at DCL are privileged to employ Zimbile Dlamini on a casual basis to update us on the progress of the pre-schools, their training and financial situation. We felt that this role was much needed in order for us to be fully aware of the dynamics and needs of this very scattered group of rural pre-schools. Communication between us will help us to learn much more about the complexities of managing pre-schools within the cultural and economic climate of this rural area where some of the pre-schools are quite isolated.
There are now over 50 pre-schools with varying amounts of training and most with extremely poor resources and facilities.
For my visit this October Zimbile will arrange two meetings of the Isibani Sezwe Centocow Association, the association of pre-school teachers in the area and I will attend alongside her. The focus will be on Persona Doll training and a review and sharing of best practice activities.
One of the plans I hope to promote is the setting up of a group toy exchange so that funding can be used more effectively for resources.