In 1995, President Nelson Mandela announced that he would donate one third of his presidential salary to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Now, 23 years later, President Ramaphosa announced in May this year that he would donate half of his R3.6 million annual salary to the Nelson Mandela Foundation for worthy community-based projects with Early Childhood Development [ECD] as a priority.

Why would he choose ECD? President Ramaphosa is obviously responding to the very strong evidence from research and neuro-science that the earliest years of life are indeed THE most important years in life-long development. It is during these early years up to age 6, that 90% of brain development takes place and the foundation is laid for the child to achieve his or her potential and become a successful, contributing citizen. In fact research shows that investing in ensuring every child has the best start in life, is the best way to put a country on the path out of poverty and towards sustainable economic development.

The path to ensuring every child has the best start in life means we need to make sure:

  • Our pregnant women are healthy, eat nutritious food and are cared for and supported
  • Our young children are raised in loving, caring and supportive families
  • Our young children receive good health care, including all government health services detailed in the Road to Health Booklet issued at birth
  • Our young children receive adequate nutritious food, starting with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months
  • Our young children are stimulated by parents and caregivers that LOVE them, TALK to them and PLAY with them from birth
  • Our young children are safe, secure and protected from any harm

Most of the actions described above take place in the home, so you can see that parents and caregivers play a critically important role. They are the young child’s first and most important teachers. They enable a strong foundation to set up the little child for a happy, successful future. Then when your little is ready, at about 3 or 4, he or she will benefit from a good quality group early learning programme.

It is these community-based early learning programmes that President Ramaphosa is looking to support! It’s exciting and inspiring that our president recognises the importance of ECD. Let’s all follow him and build a movement for young children in our communities. Let’s set them up to succeed in life!

Make your community a place where young children flourish!

Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Nkomazi FM aired EVERY Thursday from 11 to 11.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana and RCL FOODS. Each week Nkomazi FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life. The LOVE, PLAY, TALK radio programme is part of the RCL FOODS sponsored LEAVE NO YOUNG CHILD BEHIND early childhood development initiative in Nkomazi Wards 16 and 19 that aims to ensure every young child in these wards has access to improved quality of essential services so that they get the very best start in life. And you, the parent, have a critically important role to play!

Get more information from the Nkomazi FM website or the Ilifa Labantwana website Do listen every week and give your little one the best start in life!


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