Marapond Pre-school Feeding Program


Ndlovu Care Group runs four nutritional units in Moutse where they enrol malnourished children with their caregivers to ensure proper growth and development.

 

When the kids graduate from the Nutritional Units we enrol them in the Pre-schools. They started three pre-schools in 2005 that are attached to the Nutritional Units (and vegetable gardens). About two years ago the teachers at Marapong pre-school requested Ndlovu Care group to hand the pre-school over to them to run as a business — they then agreed to that. Ndlovu Care group is still responsible for the nutritional units while they manage the pre-school separately.

 

To their horror, Ndlovu Care group learned that the Marapong pre-school is in severe financial trouble and that they had completely stopped feeding the kids during the day. When Ndlovu Care group visited the school and found the kids lethargic and hungry .Thus we are calling out to any person or company that will be to assist the pre-school; either financially or with meals / food supplements. Their current food budget for the other two pre-schools is around R6,000 per month—this enables them to supply the kids with porridge and sandwiches. The Marapong pre-school currently has 55 children enrolled on a daily basis; they would appreciate any support that you may suggest to assist the dedicated staff at the unit.

 

Some background on the work at the Units:
Children rarely have to be re-enrolled to the nutritional units once they have been discharged. Children who do have to be re-admitted are usually HIV positive and regress due to their compromised status. HIV positive care-givers are usually willing to have children tested for HIV, once they understand that the children are underweight due to their HIV status. Children who are admitted and have TB gain weight and are much healthier when discharged.

 

Children are mostly undernourished due to poverty and not necessarily malnourished. The vegetable gardens offer an outcome to this problem. Care-givers welcome the information regarding nutritional worth of different food sources. Care givers who have been enrolled in the program for a while take pride in assisting in teaching new-comers how to combine different sources for their nutritional value per meal. Living conditions regarding hygiene and tidiness of graduated care-givers (who had gone through the 3 month training period) have shown a remarkable improvement. They are proud to show community workers how they have upgraded. Neighbours of graduated care givers have also shown a remarkable upgrade in their living conditions regarding hygiene & tidiness. Many of the neighbours make vegetable gardens once the care-givers had started with theirs. There is a sympathetic and compassionate interaction between neighbours, once problems in a household have been solved. Graduated care-givers encourage neighbours to enrol malnourished children in the nutritional units.

 

Caregivers share the training with their neighbours and siblings of enrolled children also gain weight and are better off after the care-takers have done the courses. The stigma initially attached to the nutritional units in the early years of initiation have worn off completely since the community has realized that the projects work and how it functions. Communal vegetable gardens flourish. Community members take turns to water and care for their gardens. Gardening plots are allocated to the community near water sources. The only care-givers who do not have private vegetable gardens are those who have water shortages; these start vegetable gardens on the nutritional unit property.

 

Defaulting from the NNU are due to the
- travel distances, care-givers and children have to walk far to get to the NNU's
- elderly carers are sometimes ill or too tired to walk to the nutritional units
- sickness of either children or caretakers


Although the NNU's are able to enrol a maximum of 25 children and their care-takers at a given time, no-one has ever been shown away. Clinic's in the vicinity refer under- or malnourish children to the Ndlovu Nutritional Units. Ndlovu Care group pre-schools ensure that once food is secured for the children they have normal early childhood development that prepares them for a productive life.