Believing that early childhood education is a critical need and will set children on a path to change their futures. Thembanathi supports over 170 children through grass roots organizations in rural KwaZulu-Natal. These programs work closely with surrounding communities to fill in gaps for children and families created by chronic poverty, high unemployment, and the impact of HIV/AIDS.
Thembanathi supports the early childhood education and feeding programs at Holy Cross, a nonprofit organization that provides a wide range of services for children and families in a extensive rural area 125 kilometers north of Durban.
In 2012, Thembanathi helped a nearby community start an early childhood program. The program began in a small, temporary facility. With funds raised by Thembanathi, Siyabonga Early Childhood Education and Community Center opened the doors of its new building in January 2014.
These programs provide the support and structure, and the cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development that children growing up in adversity need. The children are also given nutritious meals. Additionally, the program provides a critically needed service for the families of the children.
Rural Zululand is one of the areas most devastated by HIV/AIDS, the legacy of Apartheid, and extreme poverty. Unemployment rates are over 60% and the prevalence rate of HIV is at 25%, with rates peaking at 59% in women ages 25 – 29.
For more information, visit thembanathi.org.