The project started in January 2003, feeding some 60 children from two pre-primary schools in Knysna. They were given a breakfast of a highly nutritious porridge each weekday morning. Careful monitoring over six months produced encouraging results. The children's health and concentration improved.
More than a decade later the project has expanded to over 90 centres. Enthusiastic volunteers handle distribution and monitoring so that over 4,500 children receive a vitamin-packed breakfast each school-day. Outlets include a range of schools and children's places of care. To date over 5 million meals have been served.
In addition to feeding, we assist with funding for the training of pre-primary teachers, provision of stationery and educational equipment. The objective is simply to improve the lives of the children. As we near the end of 2016 we celebrate the many ways we have been able to serve the children of our region. One of the ways we have been able to improve the lives of the children is to improve the skills of the teachers who care for them. This year we have trained over twenty trainee teachers by providing bursaries for them to attend formal training that enables them to become fully qualified over a period of three years.
This year ten of our trainee teachers completed their third and final year and received their diplomas at the graduation ceremony.
We are excited by the positive impact of this training on the children in the pre schools. One teacher said to us, "I have always known how to love and care for the children but now my mind has been opened up. I never realised how much more I could do. I am so amazed by the wonderful ways I can develop the children entrusted to me."
Teacher training complements and extends our superb children's feeding project and so we plan to send twenty teachers for training in 2017. Eleven of these hope to obtain diplomas by the end of next year. We hope the ripple effect of this training and the other novice training we do through the year will enable our pre schools to grow and prosper.