South Africa: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child and Tenacity to Help Children Thrive

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Shoprite has been working with more than 300 community projects to mitigate hunger through food gardens and provide early childhood development services to poor communities. Maverick Citizen interviewed five of the women leading these projects and will run their stories over the next week.

Early childhood development (ECD), the cornerstone of education, has a direct effect on young children's emotional, social, cognitive and physical development. But while it has been identified as a priority sector for childhood development, it is critically under-resourced in South Africa.

Founder of Sweet Home Daycare Centre, Khomi Maluleke arrives for our interview, impeccably dressed in a bright red suit. Her office cabinet bursts with trophies and her wall is filled with certificates of achievement and Early Childhood Development compliance.

Maluleke started her daycare in the village of Xigalo just outside Malamulele in Limpopo in 1998 with little more than a blanket and a few food staples from her kitchen. At the time there were just six children in the daycare. Fees were R50 a month per child.

Maluleke says she wanted to help families in her village because many of the mothers were teenagers, still trying to finish school. The children's fathers were largely uninvolved...

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