1 + 1 = 2: AMARULA TRUST DOUBLES SIZE OF RURAL EARLY LEARNING CENTRE
Jun 13th 2011, 09:54
Preschoolers from a marginalised rural community in Limpopo Province are to be given a major educational boost, thanks to the donation of over R500 000 from the Amarula Trust.
The trust, a not-for-profit initiative established to support community upliftment and conservation programmes, was instrumental in establishing ilNhlangasi Day Care Centre in 2005. Now it is funding the extension of the early-learning centre that caters to children from the communities living in and around Phalaborwa. Currently equipped with a single, large classroom and outdoor playing facilities, the teaching area will be virtually doubled in size.
The ilNhlangasi team of six teachers equips the children, who range in age from toddlers to pre-primary schoolers, with the building blocks for their formal schooling. Many are already familiar with the alphabet by the time they enter primary school.
By spring this year the centre will have an additional building that will include two new classrooms to better streamline the educational programmes for the close on 100 learners.
Whereas the children are informally divided into groups within the existing classroom, the extension, scheduled for completion by September, will mean they can be physically separated according to age group. This will allow the teachers to better focus on age-appropriate activities.
Says the trust’s Rory Viljoen: “Many of the learners are the children of the women who harvest the marula fruit and from which we make Amarula. Research has shown that one of the most critical impediments to successful formal learning and the development of life skills is a lack of early-learning stimuli through games, story-telling, problem-solving and physical play.
“By exposing these children in a more ordered way to such activities, the centre hopes to give them a head start in life.”
The lack of access to quality education has been cited by bodies such as the African Development Bank and the Global Competitiveness Report as one of the county’s biggest stumbling blocks in accelerating economic development.
Viljoen said the trust also addressed the infrastructural needs of the school where it could. Last year it had drilled a borehole to ensure ready water for the children and their care givers.
The Amarula Trust focuses on promoting both social and geo-physical sustainability through a range of projects nationwide. These include an innovative job-creation project in Sir Lowry’s Pass village in the Western Cape that is providing an income to 85 women.
Its Amarula Elephant Research Project addresses the conservation, protection and management of African elephants in their natural environment.
Amarula, known as the spirit of Africa, is South Africa’s most widely distributed liquor brand, selling in 103 countries worldwide. It has been ranked as one of the world’s fastest-growing spirit brands by Drinks International, based on data researched by Euromonitor.
For further information on Amarula please visit www.amarula.com and on the Amarula Trust www.amarulatrust.com Click here for more information on Distell
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