Collette Cares’ 2016 Global Flagship Project is the Knysna Education Trust (KET) in South Africa. The purpose of a flagship programme is to make a deeper impact in one place through a concentrated effort, increased funding and closer work with our international partner leading to lasting, sustainable change. In 2017, travellers can experience this project on a volunteer tour, and help us to create lasting change in this wonderful place. Stay tuned for more details about the programme!

Over the course of 8 years, our partnership with KET has led to tremendous change in a community that needs our help; we have provided educational assistance to over 130 students and built or helped renovate over five preschools which has impacted more than 2,000 young students.  We are excited to grow our efforts even more this year. 

With the Global Flagship grant, we are dedicated to impacting the most critical phase of a child’s education and development – the preschool years through three critical initiatives: Early Childhood Development (ECD) training, the First 1,000 Days Curriculum, and the purchase of a building to be used as a training and resource centre for parents, teachers and caregivers.

The Teacher training (ECD Skill Development) has been positively received.  So far this year, the grant has assisted in the creation of training materials and resulted in over 15 workshops ranging in topics from emergent reading and literacy in young children, creating math resources from recycled materials to health and immunizations.  In addition, in school training has been added to help prepare the older children (age 5-6) for the next leg of their school journey.

Positive steps have been taken to lay the ground work in the formation of partnerships with primary health care clinics to host the First 1,000 Days training: two of the larger municipal clinics have signed on which will help provide a support group after the initial training;  the challenge of reaching the new mothers after hours has been overcome by taking sessions outside the centre to their local areas; and   the toolkits are being finalized and will include the necessary toys and equipment to teach the new mothers the importance of stimulation to their child.

Earlier this year, a building was secured by the Knysna Educational Trust.  As soon as the initial renovations were completed, the new teacher training workshops started.  The next step is to renovate the space that will house the teacher resource centre.

These are just three of initiatives that have been impacted by our funding this year. The support over the years has provided years of preschool education touching many lives. By helping the youth, we are essentially helping a community become strong and helping lay the foundation of education for the children that are South Africa’s future.