Brighter future for Eshowe children

Children from Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal will get a shot at a brighter future with the construction of an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in their area.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is expected to attend a sod turning ceremony to mark the first step towards the construction of the new ECD centre, in Myakanya, on Saturday.

This follows an imbizo held by the Minister in Eshowe in 2014, where her department promised to build an ECD centre for the community.

It is estimated that more than 80 children will benefit from the centre. The centre will also offer employment opportunities for local women and skills training on ECD.

During an ECD symposium held in East London last week, Minister Dlamini said government had allocated an ECD Conditional Grant of R812 million for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years to expand the ECD subsidy to poor children in registered ECD programmes.

The subsidy amount will be increased from R15 to R16 per child for 264 days a year across all provinces.

ECD is widely recognised for the role it plays in laying a foundation for life-long development for children between the ages of zero and four years.

"These centres also provide nutritional food for children's physical development and further offer peace of mind to mothers by providing a safe place for children while they are at work," the department said.

Cabinet has approved a National ECD Policy, through which the roll out of integrated ECD services will take place. The policy provides a framework for government's accountability to provide a comprehensive package of quality ECD services that would be universally available in sufficient quantities and proximity so that children enjoy an equal opportunity and access to these services.

After the sod turning ceremony, Minister Dlamini will host an imbizo with the Eshowe community to assess progress made since her last visit.

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT NEWS AGENCY

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