The first 1000 days of a child’s life are pivotal: without the necessary building blocks of love, nutrition, security and stimulation, babies cannot reach their full potential and are likely to experience difficulty throughout their lives. Sadly, of the 75,000 children born in Cape Town each year, over half do not receive sufficient care to set them up for future success.
Our work in this sphere targets primary caregivers, particularly new mothers and crèche principals.We aim to bring fresh insight, develop skills and build networks of care and support. As a result we’ve impacted more than 320 children’s lives for the better.
Consider for a moment that 65% of Grade 3 learners cannot read at their appropriate level. When a child doesn’t learn to read, they cannot read to learn.
Through our supplementary support partners we work in schools to provide weekly volunteer-driven programmes that provide individual attention and care to selected foundation phase children who are struggling to read. In five schools we have literacy development programmes and a numeracy support programme. In addition to this, there are supplementary events and workshops that encourage a love for reading and story telling, which reinforces learning.
Our ‘care for the teacher’ events celebrate committed educators and are designed to inspire and appreciate them. Parents are encouraged to join the volunteer teams. Sport Saturdays expose children to fun physical activity in an attempt to foster a positive association with sport. We have also partnered with one High School to support the principal in addressing poor levels of literacy in grade 8 and to encourage the leadership development of a group of grade 12 learners.
Common Good has partnered with the Western Cape Education Department in the Collaboration Schools Project, which aims to bring fresh flexibility, accountability and capacity to non-fee paying schools. As co-governors and managers at Oranjekloof Primary (and two further schools this year), we’re committed to enabling schools to provide excellent education in an environment that allows learners to thrive.
The vast majority of the unemployed in South Africa are also unemployable – lacking the basic hard and soft skills required to seek and secure meaningful employment. Common Good’s employment initiative, The Zanokhanyo Network, offers a transformational Job Readiness Journey that restores dignity and hope, equips individuals to realise their potential, and connects graduates to networks of employment opportunity. Since 2009 we’ve empowered thousands of breadwinners and this year we will train a thousand more in multiple locations throughout our city.
The Job Readiness Journey, serves as a bridge to opportunity by:
- Providing skills that equip individuals to overcome obstacles to meaningful employment;
- Encouraging personal and spiritual growth that establishes a sense of self-worth and purpose;
- Instilling hope and a sense of imminent possibility;
- Connecting to networks of employment opportunities.
The Zanokhanyo Network
For more information about the Job Readiness Journey and how you can participate, please visit The Zanokhanyo Network website.
A significant part of Common Good’s work is encouraging and equipping Common Ground congregants and the broader church to embrace a lifestyle of social justice. We coordinate courses and events, and develop resources that encourage participants to grapple with and respond to issues of diversity and inequality in our city.
Over 150 participants have been through our flagship Justice Journey Course in the past two years. Our hope is that a growing number of congregants will begin to individually and collectively live out justice – creating a groundswell of positive change in our society.