By Funie Rabambi

In September, employees from Anglo American and De Beers made a big difference in the life of one of our SmartStarters. They spent a full day with Ntombizodwa Nesta Nkosi, a SmartStarter based in Mdeni, Soweto, volunteering their time as part of The Achievers Programme (TAP), which aims to make learning more meaningful.

The volunteers had a fun morning playing games with the six children in Ntombizodwa’s playgroup, introducing them to new, fun and simple learning games. Filled with colours, letters and numbers, these games helped the children to develop skills in self-control and short-term memory

Ntombizodwa trained to be a SmartStarter in 2015 and opened her first SmartSpace in January 2018. She currently has six children in her playgroup and is enjoying her SmartStart journey.

After the games, the volunteers planted a vegetable garden. Packed with spinach, carrots, beetroot, spring onion, beans and butternut, the garden will ensure the children enjoy nutritious meals every day.

The volunteers then ended their day by painting Ntombizodwa’s SmartSpace, hosting a braai for everyone involved, and talking to parents and caregivers on the importance of early learning and parental involvement.

In addition to their service on the day, the volunteers donated chairs, storybooks, stationery and other learning materials.

The vegetable garden has already grown well and started to blossom. The children are enjoying their new learning materials, and continue to play all the new games they learnt. Their parents are also more actively involved in their children’s learning, which just goes to show how a little support can go a long way. Have you thought about forming a partnership of your own? Why not approach churches, local businesses or parent employers?