(Wood)working together to #DoMorePlay!

Playing with young children sparks imagination, creativity, problem solving, negotiating relationships and a huge variety of intellectual and other skills – in fact everything they need to know about life and how to live in the world! Play is also a child’s right and we, as parents and adults, have a very important responsibility to make sure that children have time, opportunity and materials to play.

The Worcester Youth-ability project (launched in September 2020) aims to promote even more PLAY by manufacturing high quality hand crafted wooden ECD educational toys through a rather UNIQUE enterprise development project.

Why so unique?

1. The Woodworkers

The Foundation – together with the amazing Breede Valley Association of and for Persons with Disabilities – have trained 20 youth with intellectual disabilities to design, manufacture, finish, package and market wooden ECD Educational toys, including but not limited to using woodwork, needlework and painting techniques. These differently-abled youth have minimal support systems and benefit directly from the sales of their products.

Andri Eloff (lead Woodwork facilitator) trained the existing Breede Valley APD Arts and Crafts facilitators during a Disability Sensitization Workshop presented by Louise Fouche (Occupational Therapist). The workshop was followed by a functional and productive capacity assessment of all of the youth with disabilities at the organisation in order to pair them with the best matching production line activity.

Although initially fearful of working with the woodwork equipment, the facilitators have developed tremendously and are now proud to be in the position to manufacture quality products and transfer these skills to the youth with disabilities.

We were stunned at how quickly the youth with disabilities adapted to the new project and especially at their eagerness to learn new skills and how quickly they learned! To see the youth’s daily development in confidence and pride have been an great opportunity and privilege. And as the saying goes: “The proof is in the pudding”

Louine Griessel – Breede Valley APD

2. The Wood (and the AWESOME company who provides it)

Most wooden toys on the market are commercially / mass produced, are expensive and inaccessible to vulnerable communities. The specific range of wooden toys produced through this Enterprise Development programme are made far more affordable through a very special partnership with CHEP (an International company with local footprint in Worcester).

CHEP have agreed to supply the woodworking enterprise with their wooden timber offcuts from their manufacturing facility completely free of charge). These “off-cuts” are in perfect condition and form the raw material for the woodworkers to put their magical hands to work and make beautiful wooden toys. This also aligns perfectly with the 2025 sustainability goal of Planet positive (ensuring zero waste to landfill).

These toys are to be made available for purchase (generating income for the youth) AND will be donated to local ECD Centres in vulnerable communities in and around Worcester.

There really is something truly remarkable that happens when a multi-stakeholder collaboration comes into being. We look forward to seeing this partnership grow – for the woodworkers AND the young children in Worcester who will benefit from the end products.

Please contact Iris Naidoo (Iris.Naidoo@domore.org.za) if you or your company would like to:

  • Find out more about this project
  • Make a contribution towards this project (S18A letters can be provided for all donations)
  • Purchase wooden toys for distribution

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