by Sandra Brunetti and Natalie Grüter
Today we started our journey and we had the possibility to visit two early childhood development (ECD) centres. The first was built by the community and is a really basic building. It’s sad to see that the building is just an open room without a real roof or any door. Kids have very limited toys. No toilets or any other sanitary facility. We met around 30 kids aged from three to six. It’s very difficult to teach these kids—because of the open room, they get easily distracted and can’t really concentrate. Food is cooked outside under a tree.
The second centre has got already some support from UNICEF and we saw the difference immediately. It’s a real building with two classrooms. Outside they have a playground and also a toilet. There is also a real cooking station. We had a very lovely and heart-warming welcome. The mothers were singing and dancing for us and we were invited to see how the kids get taught. We also met the chief of the village and got some introductions and backgrounds about how their daily life is structured. We were there when lunchtime started and each kid got a plate of porridge prepared by the mothers.
The difference between these two centres was mainly having a real building, closed rooms, a playground and sanitary facilities—little things which make conditions for kids, teachers and for the whole community more comfortable and enjoyable. Offering just basic conditions is the beginning of successful projects and movements. The main task is to build awareness of how important education is and motivate the parents and kids to keep going.
All of us were very impressed and deeply touched to see the changes which can be achieved for children and give them a positive perspective for their future.