TO IMPROVE THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN, SHOULD TAKE TOP PRIORITY
At least two million South African children go to bed hungry every day and a large portion of them live in informal settlements. The Housing Development Agency says that more than four million people reside in these settlements and they account for at least 14% of the country’s population.
Conditions in the informal settlements are harsh and life is hard. Most homes are made of scraps; corrugated iron, cardboard, sheets of plastic all held together to form some sort of shelter.
When the sun shines down, the shacks are as hot as frying pans, in the rain, they are as leaky as colanders and in the winter, as cold as refrigerators. Homes often comprise just one room and there is little to no insulation and ventilation.
They are difficult to keep clean, let alone hygienic. Even the most basic of household tasks can become health and safety hazards.
There is often no running water or a reliable source of electricity. Sewage regularly trickles down the roads. Litter lines the pathways and open areas and streams are clogged with rubbish.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in these informal settlements do not look much different and are seldom fit for education.
Most centres are run by women (affectionately called “mamas”) who care about children but do not have teaching qualifications to ensure that those in their care are adequately stimulated.
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