Ten members of staff from GrandWest have volunteered to participate in an early childhood development programme that aims to stimulate the minds of young children in Cape Town’s disadvantaged areas.

The Finding Thabo pilot project will be run by Stellenbosch-based NGO The Reach Trust. In addition to receiving physical assistance from the GrandWest staff volunteers, the project will also receive funding of R25 000 from GrandWest.

The Trust’s focus is on early childhood development and reaching young children via its innovative brain stimulation games, learning apps and other innovations. Since its inception in 2012, The Reach Trust has transformed the lives of more than 10 million people across Southern Africa.

Finding Thabo will work with children between the ages of three and six years of age who are based at early childhood development centres in surrounding communities. The project is specifically designed to be implemented in low resource environments.

Enrolment began in May this year, and GrandWest staff will be involved through to February 2022.
Explaining GrandWest’s participation, General Manager Mervyn Naidoo said, “We believe that every child has the right to high-quality stimulation which, according to global research, provides the foundations for lifelong learning. The children we reach today will have richer, more fulfilled lives and who knows, perhaps one of them will be a future leader of our country?”

After receiving their introductory online training, the ten staff members will be required to identify five early childhood development centres they wish to support. Their work will include explaining the Finding Thabo programme to the teachers, distributing material for the training, and collecting relevant data from each centre in order to evaluate the progress.

Christalene Veneel, from the Food & Beverage Department, explains why she wants to take part. “I love being around children. They are honest, free spirits and full of joy. Seeing them smile, with their eyes lighting up, is the most amazing thing in the world. Who wouldn’t volunteer to be with the best people in the world, the little ones? What I want to achieve is simple – just making learning fun.”

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