Early Childhood Development (ECD) unit
For the POP programme it is essential that we reach children as soon as possible, supporting them and their families through the difficult adjustments of a new birth and family intergration.
The POP Programme provides care during the first 1000 days of a child’s life and we focus on 3 areas:
- Ante Natal Classes: For Pregnant women and couples
- Our Baby Unit: Is offered for children between the ages of 4 months to three years. (0-3)
- Crèche and Pre-School: Which caters for 145 children (with special attention given to children identified as struggling with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Here our children (5 – 6 years old) have the opportunity to acquire the necessary educational tools needed in preparation for Grade 1, in accordance with the Department of Educational guidelines.
Support is offered to special families with children in dire need. This includes school fees, school uniforms, school transport, shoes, stationery packs, warm clothes and even meal for our most vulnerable children.
(Assessments are done to ascertain who is in need of this service)
After School Educational Project
Children return to the POP centres directly after school each day or the school term. Here they receive a hot meal (we serve nearly 1200 meals a week at times)
Each day from 2 – 6 pm our POP Centres come alive with our determined and resilient young people; whatever their reasons for joining the POP centre may be they all know it’s a safe place where they can gain access to a variety of support structures: Social Workers; Tutors with Homework supervision; Access to a Library and Computer Lab; Life skills programmes; sport and recreational activities as well as practical resources such as access to thing, many of us take for granted, like washing their school uniforms so our children feel proud and smell clean for the next day.
Weekly Youth development workshops
Age appropriate health wellness and capacity building youth groups run weekly at each POP Centre, covering topics such as HIV/AIDS, TB, First Aid, Personal Hygiene, Entertainment and general etiquette.
We have 3 specific Age Categories:
Our Little Stars: 6-12 years old
Tiener Aksie: (Teens in Action) 13-16 years old
Youth In Construction: 16 -25 years old
For children and Youth providing fun, educational and creative activities as well as a hot meal each day during these long periods of no school activity often means a child has the opportunity to return prepared to school the following term ready and eager. Providing a safe space and food for children during long periods of school break is essential in securing their return and continued commitment to their future and education.
Youth Leadership Training Camps
This biannual training opportunity happens so that we can invite young people in the community (over 14 years) to join an participate in a Leadership training opportunity which will give them skills needed to run and facilitate holiday programmes for the younger children in their communities. Community young people with an aptitude for leadership will be identified and given the opportunity to join the Youth Leadership Training Centre to further their training.
Sport and Exercise
The POP Sports Department offers a variety of fun healthy opportunities for children to participate in such as rugby, netball, yoga, cycling, dancing, and we’ve recently introduced courses in skipping, hooping and Brain Gym (exercises developed to promote Neuro-Plasticity growth) especially for children suffering from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and is proving to be so beneficial in giving young children the opportunities to exercise their minds.
We offer workshops throughout the year for people wanting to acquire skills to be great functioning participatory parents in their childrens lives
- Father and Son Workshop
- Teacher Parent meetings (quarterly meetings)
- Men’s Group (monthly meeting)
Is OUR response to the violence and drinking culture of adults on farms. We currently have 19 safe houses on surrounding farms, run by female farm workers who have been trained in Home Base Skills to offer shelter, food, a safe and comforting environment for children who become vulnerable, hungry or scared over periods of time when their parents may be drinking.
Care for the Planet
The POP programme is committed to creating environmental awareness in local communities. A Permaculture garden at Goedgedacht Farm provides training in growing vegetables, for young people. We are concerned about the effect that climate change will have on poverty in this rapidly warming and dry area of South Africa. In the absence of jobs the rural poor need the skills that enable them to feed themselves and their families.
- We Currently have 8 organic gardens at each of the POP centres which provides fresh food for meals to the POP Centres for the preschool and after school projects.
- Food security: Emergency food and E-Pap (a highly nutritious maize based product) is made available to families in need, particularly children, the elderly and those on anti-retroviral medical treatments.
We realise that the parents of our youth also occasionally need support, so we run workshops throughout the year for both men and women who are interested in personal development.
We currently run:
- Men’s Group (who meet on a monthly basis)
- Adult training workshops: Health, HIV/AIDS, TB, parenting skills, support groups, antenatal classes etc.
The POP Leadership Training Centre
In 2015 POP established a college for disadvantaged rural young adults (between the ages of 18 – 25) on Goedgedacht Farm. The chosen youth need to have completed high school and possess and aptitude for leadership. The college offers short term post-Matric courses for young people, assisting them to move into tertiary education or the work place.
(please see the dedicated tab above for more information)
“The Bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon. A person pedalling a bike uses energy more efficiently that a gazelle or an eagle” ~ Dave Cieslewicz
The rough gravel roads of the rural areas of the Swartland make it very difficult to travel. This hinders exploration and access to resourses such as libraries, schools computer hubs with internet wifi and connectivity. Often schools are situated far from feeder communities and farm children are forced to walk many kilomentres in either blazing heat for cold rainy weather. These children are already malnourished and hungry and a long walk to and from school leave little energy for things like home work and concentrating in class the next day. Access to these resources and bridging the gap between poor and those important opportunities can usually be solved by the humble bicycle!
We established a bicycle project from the help of containers loaded with bicycles form our supporters around the world. This gift has given us so many areas to reflect and inspirational ideas for the future. We are currently working on some… sssshhhhh top secret plans for the next BIG WORLD (possibly just South African) CYCLING TOUR…..details to follow shortly!
We believe in community getting involved so we enjoy gathering our communities together for thing such as Choir Competitions, Our new Marching Brass Band, Sports Days, and celebrating National Holidays of service such as Mandela Day.
Family Support and Documentation
Our Qualified Social Worker is here to visit farms and help in any way they can. One of the ways we help to empower local farm workers is to assist them in acquiring the relevant documentation they may need: Birth certificates for their children, Identity Documents, access to social grants if needed such as Child Support Grant, Foster Care Grant and a grant for Old Age Pensioners. Our dedicated and Kind social worker will do everything she can to ensure farming families know their rights and are treated well.