Topsy Foundation NPC

 
£9,804
£22,922
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Big smiles at the Drumming Circle
Big smiles at the Drumming Circle

Music is Food for the Soul

Our Holiday and Life Skills project offers disadvantaged children in the rural communities of Dipaleseng, Mpumulanga, a break from their everyday lives, to participate in fun and memorable experiences. The beneficiaries of our Orphaned and Vulnerable Children programme are invited to spend some of their school holidays participating in activities that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience. We aim to engage in creative activities so that children’s creative abilities may be awakened.

The aim of this effort is to impact the lives of orphans and vulnerable children by teaching them life skills. This is something that the current generation is missing from adults, due to death of parents and thus mended large families wherein the guardians might not have the time to spend with the children they care for, as they are trying to make a living for the family. Through these new experiences and by teaching life skills, we aim to close this gap for the future generation.

Each Holiday and Life Skills experience hopes to encourage children to become more aware of their creative potential and to harness it. Children are encouraged to discover their talents and work on them, potentially growing their talents in order to make a living and contribute to the communities (humanity) in their future. 

In the recent Easter holidays, children were invited to spend the morning at the Topsy Sanctuary, Grootvlei, to join in a Drumming Circle, learning how to play the drums and a variety of other percussion instruments. The children and young people were also given a short lesson about the different types of drums being played buy the musicians leading the circle and the different sounds they could create. This wonderful, heart-warming experience was kindly sponsored by The Drum Café in Johannesburg, www.drumcafe.com .

The children were shy and unsure to begin with. The musicians from Drum Café began performing and told the children to join in and beat the small drum found at their feet. The lead drummer urged the children to make music with the drums, however they want to, there was no right or wrong way – just have fun. As music filled the room, the children began to warm up and really started to enjoy themselves. Smiles spread across the room as their little hands began to find the beat and soon everyone was drumming to the same beat. They were naturals! There was so much rhythm and energy in the room. Even though the children were extremely excited, they were very co-operative and listened to every word the teacher said - a proud moment for the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Programme staff that have grown close to the children. 

Before this experience most learners had not been exposed to such an exhilarating experience and their lives were built upon a normal routine. Nyengi, a qualified school teacher who runs our Afterschool Centre, participated in the Drumming Circle and said the following:

“The whole exercise made me feel jubilant, thrilled and revived so I was excited that the same happened to the learners.”

If you would like to help us fund another Life Skills Experience, please give through our GlobalGiving page.

Kids listening carefully to instructions
Kids listening carefully to instructions
Feeling the beat
Feeling the beat
Clapping to learn the rhythm
Clapping to learn the rhythm
The Drum Cafe Musicians
The Drum Cafe Musicians
The room was filled with children and music
The room was filled with children and music

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Emily received "Most Improved ECD Centre" award
Emily received "Most Improved ECD Centre" award

November 13th 2015 marked a momentous occasion for our Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, the first graduation ceremony for 17 day care centre principals from the communities we serve.

Early in 2015 we began partnering with ASHA Trust, a provider of Early Childhood Development support programmes for home-based crèches in disadvantaged communities. From May 2015, they started facilitating The C.A.R.E Skills Development Programme from our Sanctuary, for day care centres in the surrounding communities.The C.A.R.E Programme by designed by ASHA is a practitioner development programme which includes face-to-face tuition and follow-up hands on support in the centres. The programme:

  • Equips the ECD practitioners with the basic skills of running effective and stimulating centres.
  • Emphasises the importance of a daily programme and nutrition.
  • Prepares the principals / owners of the centres, for registration with the necessary local authorities. Once this has been done successfully they become eligible to receive financial subsidies to help with the nutrition programme and to pay child care workers.

Emily (pictured above) is one of the principals that received certification. Emily is the principal at Leseding day care centre in Siyathemba. She started her day care centre in 2009. When Emily started the ASHA Trust’s training programme she had minimal working experience in a day care centre as a practitioner.  Her centre is not yet receiving a subsidy from the Department of Social Development which makes it one of the most under-resourced centres we work with.

The training Emily received from the programme helped her gain knowledge on how to provide the best possible quality care and stimulating environment to the children in her centre, in spite of the lack of adequate practitioners and financial resources. The training has also improved her administration skills which make her centre management better and increases her chances of receiving financial assistance from the Department of Social Development, and other donors in the community.  

Emily received the award for the most improved day care centre. In spite of the financial challenges she faces, staff and disadvantaging community environmental factors, she has been motivated to rise above her challenges. Her confidence has been lifted and she knows she continues to have support to implement what she learnt and improve her centre further.

Emily is the epitome of potential unlocked through our partnership with ASHA Trust and their practical training programme. She has been given an opportunity to better impact the lives of the children in the community she serves. 

Kids from a local day care centre sang for guests
Kids from a local day care centre sang for guests
Training for Bophelong practitioners
Training for Bophelong practitioners

The Bophelong Stimulation Centre Report – October 2015

The Bophelong Centre for Disabled Children is situated in Syathemba, Mpumalanga, often referred to as a forgotten part of the South Africa, due to its scant infrastructure and lack of large-scale industry. We have been in partnership with Bophelong since April 2014. The centre is doing a great job caring for the children, despite the challenges they face in terms of lack of space, resources and training. The ratio of staff to children in most centres catering for children with disabilities is at the most four children to one staff member. When children with severe cerebral palsy are being catered for it is usually three children to one staff member. At present, with 40 children usually attending Bophelong centre and four care givers, it is difficult for the staff to cater adequately for the children’s needs.

The ages of the children in the centre range from 3 – 17 years old. The building itself is very small. Their infrastructural needs are huge; from an audit completed by Topsy social workers we have identified the following requirements:

  • Storage space for indoor equipment and for practitioners personal  belongings
  • More space, internal and external
  • More classrooms
  • Improvements to fencing around perimeter and a lock on gate
  • Outside play area
  • More bathrooms
  • More lighting

We support the Bopheloing in the following ways:

  • Assist with basic management and site development to create a stimulating environment for the children
  • Offer infrastructural support
  • Provision of specialised equipment to encourage play and stimulate the children
  • Train principals and practitioners on the concept of Early Childhood Development
  • Food security in the form of a vegetable garden and food parcels

We have built strong relationships with the following partners, which enables us to provide more specialised support to the children at Bophelong:

  • Gill Lloyd -  a consultant in Inclusive Issues & Disability Management 
  • The Sunshine Centre Association – a non-profit organisation in the field of intellectual disability, offering diverse services at many levels. 
  • Shonaquip and Uhambo Foundation – committed to improving the quality of life of individuals living with moderate to severe disabilities. They manufacture and supply posture support wheelchairs, mobility equipment and other positioning devices. They have completed an audit on what equipment the children need.
  • ASHA Trust - a provider of Early Childhood Development support programmes for day care centres in disadvantaged communities. 

Wheelchair Donations from Old Mutual through Shonaquip & Umhambo Foundation

In April 2015, we were thrilled to receive a donation of two specially equipped wheelchairs for two of our beneficiaries at the Bophelong. The wheelchairs were donated by the Old Mutual Foundation.

“This will most definitely ensure that secondary complications do not set in and that the girls are able to participate in activities and can thus develop in all areas.”

Ruth Stubbs, Seating Practitioner, Inclusive Educator – Shonaquip/Uhambo Foundation.

Sunshine Centre Donation of Used Equipment - April 2015

Shonaquip and Umhambo donated used specialised equipment for the children of Bophelong.

Shonaquip Report on Bophelong Centre for Disabled Children

We made contact with the Uhambo Foundation with regards to purchasing a much needed Stimulation Kit for Bophelong. Through this connection, the director of the Uhambo Foundation arranged an assessment of the Bophelong Centre for the Disabled with Ruth Stubbs of Shonaquip Gauteng. The following recommendations were made:

  1. Upgrades to 2 small Madiba Buggies currently used by 2 of the children
  2. Upgrades to 1 large Madiba Buggy currently used by 1 of the children
  3. 1x 10” Sully wheelchair with a Tess back postural support system
  4. 1x 18” Sam wheelchair with a Tess Back postural support system
  5. 2 x small Madiba Buggies

ASHA Trust Practitioner Development Programme

Through funding that was secured by Topsy, from the DG Murray Trust, the principal of Bophelong was able to attend training conducted by The ASHA Trust. The C.A.R.E Skills Development Programme is a programme which includes face-to-face tuition and follow-up hands on support in the centres. The training started 12th May 2015 and all four modules of training have been completed. The ASHA training programme:

  • Equips the ECD practitioners with the basic skills of running effective and stimulating centres
  • Emphasises the importance of a daily programme and nutrition
  • Prepares the principals/owners of the centres, for registration with the necessary local authorities. Once this has been done successfully they become eligible to receive financial subsidies to help with the nutrition programme and to pay child care workers

The modules completed by the center site head were:

Module 1 - Children’s Needs and Centre Requirements

Module 2  - Administration Requirements

Module 3 - Roles and Responsibilities of Day Care Centre Staff

Module 4  - Educational Needs and Learning resources.

A certification ceremony will be held in November. We are looking forward to rewarding principals for their hard work and seeing the joy on the practitioners faces for their achievements.

Gill Lloyd Training on Inclusive Education For Disabled Children

Bophelong Staff attended training by specialist educator, Gill Lloyd PhD. The four training sessions completed from 6th June - 11th July were:

  1. Child Identification and Assessment - Provided facilitators with training to ensure the best education possible at the relevant developmental ages of each child
  2. Special needs training for the Bophelong School for the Disabled – Practitioners were taught to distinguish the chronological versus the developmental age of special needs children and will be shown how to focus on most beneficial progress areas for each child
  3. Identification of Barriers to Learning or Developmental Delays – Content included  the different barriers to learning and how children are different from each other
  4. Accurate Observation of children and Making Toys/Resources from Waste - The practitioners learnt that good teaching resources can be made from waste products. There is no excuse for a lack of resources

Shonaquip Training and Handover of Stimulation Kit - 17th and 19th August 2015

Shonaquip facilitated training at Bophelong with the practitioners on Monday 17th and Wednesday 19th August. The training was to teach them to provide the children at the centre with stimulation activities. Practitioners were taught how to access children’s developmental levels, establish developmental goals, use the test kit to engage in stimulating activities with the children and assess their developmental progress over specific time frames. Shonaquip took time to identify children’s abilities and areas that need improvement with the practitioners and to give practical ways of stimulating the children’s development using the tool kit manual and toys.

Three practitioners were appointed two children each to work with over a period of six weeks. Shonaquip will visit the centre to check on the practitioners and children’s progress. Developmental goals were set for the six children and stimulation activities will be done by the practitioners.

The practitioners from Bophelong had a wonderful time at the training. They were grateful for the opportunity to learn how best to do their work in a practical, simple and understandable way. Thembi, a Topsy Social Worker, said the following “The experience of the children at the day care centre cannot be explained. From not having stimulation toys to having someone who is knowledgeable and who understands their disability and developmental needs spend the day with them was an exhilarating experience. The children loved receiving attention, stimulation and love from Anushcka (Shonaquip), Topsy staff and practitioners.”

Sunshine Centre Training

Practitioners from Bophelong were privileged to spend a day at The Sunshine Centre, to further develop the skills they learnt during Gill Lloyds training sessions. A professional from the Sunshine Centre taught the staff how to work with disabled children hands on i.e. physical and intellectual stimulation.  

Fundraising for Bophelong

  • Natalie Hamett from Australia contacted us in April 2015 and expressed an interested in fundraising for Topsy, and specifically to help disabled children. She ran the Melbourne Half Marathon and raised R10, 000 which has been specifically allocated to improvements at Bophelong.
  • A grant of R 38,000 was awarded by The Persula Foundation from the UK specifically for the disabled children of Bophelong.

Plans for the Future

The funding we received from DG Murray Trust was awarded for one year. If all targets and indicators are met successfully they will consider renewing for three years. This will enable us to the train the principal for another two years:

  • Year Two (2016) training from ASHA will be Child Development Programme - ETDP SETA Accredited course. This will give principals the tools to develop children’s foundation for learning; colours, shapes, numbers, big and mall, spacial awareness and written words.  
  • Year Three (2017) will be “Money Management”, a financial management training programme for people with little formal education, as is the case with our many of the day care centres we support. Successful practitioners will be awarded 5 points in accreditation towards SETA-ECD level 4.
  • We would like to employ one full time occupational therapist and one full time physiotherapist to work with all beneficiaries of our programmes. The children at Bophelong will benefit from this hugely. It will ensure they are stimulated and given specialist care,  and one on one attention they desperately need
  • Additional outdoor equipment is needed to prevent the children from being indoors all day, and to encourage physical activity and development
  • We will continue to raise funds to enable us complete all the upgrades and purchase the equipment for each child that was highlighted in the audit completed by Shonaquip
  • Gill Lloyd’s training sessions emphasised the need to encourage parents to educate themselves on how to help and stimulate their children. With adequate funding we would like to purchase the Parental Manual from Shonaquip that is associated the stimulation kit currently used at Bophelong

Thank you for taking the time to read this report.

Specialised equipment donation - Sunshine Centre
Specialised equipment donation - Sunshine Centre

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Bophelong beneficiaries receiving wheelchairs.
Bophelong beneficiaries receiving wheelchairs.

Dear Topsy Supporters,

Thank you for taking the time to find out more about the organisation that you choose to support. We are glad to have the chance to show you the results of your amazing support.

Topsy has implemented an Early Childhood Development (ECD) project to provide for the holistic development requirements of children in their formative years, encompassing physical, cognitive, social and language development needs. 

Topsy has been working closely with Shonaquip and the Uhambo Foundation who are committed to improving the quality of life of individuals living with moderate to severe disabilities. They design, manufacture and supply posture support wheelchairs, mobility equipment and other positioning devices.

In April, Topsy was thrilled to receive a donation of two specially equipped wheelchairs for two of our beneficiaries at the Bophelong Stimulation Centre for mentally and physically disabled children.  The wheelchairs were donated by the Old Mutual Foundation.

“This will most definitely ensure that secondary complications do not set in and that the girls

are able to participate in activities and can thus develop in all areas.” According to Ruth Stubbs, Seating Practitioner, Inclusive Educator – Shonaquip/Uhambo Foundation.

The Topsy Early Childhood Development Project includes the implementation of a central educational toy library which will distribute on a rotation basis specialized educational toys to 23 under resourced pre-schools and 1 stimulation centre for mentally and physically disabled children in the impoverished Dipaleseng district of Mpumalanga.

The Topsy ECD project aims to ensure children between the ages of 0-6 are emotionally and physically nourished.  Children who have benefited from ECD projects have improved social and emotional behaviour, are less likely to drop out of school later in life, and have increased earning potential as adults.  Ultimately, studies have shown that high quality stimulation through Early Childhood Development programmes gives children a better chance of breaking the poverty cycle.

Warm Regards

Sarah du Toit

Development Manager

 

Bophelong beneficiaries receiving wheelchairs.
Bophelong beneficiaries receiving wheelchairs.

Links:

Boy with a new toy
Boy with a new toy

Dear Topsy Supporters,

Thank you for taking the time to find out more about the organisation that you choose to support. We are glad to have the chance to show you the results of your amazing support.

In April 2014, following consultation with stakeholders including Dipaleseng Early Childhood Association, Topsy has implemented an Early Childhood Development project to provide for the holistic development requirements of children in their formative years, encompassing physical, cognitive, social and language development needs.

The Topsy Early Childhood Development Project includes the implementation of a central educational toy library which will distribute on a rotation basis specialized educational toys to 19 under resourced pre-schools and 1 stimulation centre for mentally and physically disabled children in the impoverished Dipaleseng district of Mpumalanga.

In addition to the provision of specialized equipment to encourage play activities to develop young children in the areas of numeracy and literacy, Topsy will provide training to 85 staff, teachers and principals at the pre-schools on the concept of Early Childhood Development and the equipment provided.

Topsy has already begun and will continue to assist the pre-schools with basic management and site development to create a stimulating environment for the children, improved skills and job creation for the staff at the facilities.

Topsy has always endeavored to provide relevant and holistic support to the rural impoverished communities it serves through our Home-based Care, Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and Vegetable Gardening and Skills Training.

The Topsy ECD project aims to ensure children between the ages of 0-6 are emotionally and physically nourished. Children who have benefited from ECD projects have improved social and emotional behaviour, are less likely to drop out of school later in life, and have increased earning potential as adults. Ultimately, studies have shown that high quality stimulation through Early Childhood Development programmes gives children a better chance of breaking the poverty cycle.

The future aims of the project would be to develop Early Childhood Development staff and assist pre-schools in compliance with government standards and registration.

Warm Regards

Sharon Pruss
Donor Relationship Manager

ECD Preschool
ECD Preschool
ECD Classroom
ECD Classroom

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Organization

Topsy Foundation

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
http://www.topsy.org.za

Project Leader

Sarah du Toit

Development Manager
Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa

Where is this project located?

Map of Topsy Foundation NPC