Welcome to The Smart Foundation
The Smart Foundation is a Johannesburg – based not-for-profit, non-governmental organization founded in August 2017 to mobilize resources and to promote and support sustainable empowerment and development initiatives for children in South Africa.
Our vision is a South Africa that advances because each generation excels beyond its predecessor. In order for this to happen, young people require the tools, skills, and pathways to opportunity required to improve their lives and catalyze change in their communities.
With an estimated 3.7 million orphans and vulnerable children and an unemployment rate of approximately 60% for youth under 25, it’s our goal to prevent South Africa’s most vulnerable children from slipping through the cracks.
What We Do
We achieve this by investing in early childhood development. By partnering with informal Early Childhood Development schools, researching innovative approaches and mobilizing philanthropic capital, we hope to drive sustainable change that improves the lives of the most vulnerable children in South Africa.
Food & Nutrition Support
A high percentage of children in South Africa grow up in a profoundly unequal society. Poverty threatens the early development of the majority of children. “The first 1 000 day’s offers a critical window of opportunity to address the nutritional needs of children and enable them to grow into healthy productive adults. After this time, the effects of under-nutrition may be irreversible. By realising the importance of Early Childhood Development. The Smart Foundation brings a holistic ECD programme to centres located in the poorest areas of our communities including the provision of a highly nutritious porridge to the children who attend our supported ECD centres.
ECD Facilities Upgrades
The Smart Foundation supports minor facilities upgrades to Early Childhood Development centres depending on the needs identified, following an ECD centre needs assessment.
Proper facilities enables Early Childhood Development centres to meet the minimum registration requirements and thus be eligible for the per capita ECD subsidy which is available from the provincial Education and Social Development Departments and achieve economic independence and a sustainable future.
ECD Staff Development
To enable Early Childhood Development centres to be run efficiently, sustainably and effectively in educating and caring for young children. ECD Centres staff is appropriately trained and skilled to benefit the centre’s programmes for young children.
The centre staff participate in skills training and health workshops facilitated in cooperation with our local partner NGO’s.
Educational Support Material
We believe that it is necessary that sufficient age-appropriate, durable and safe education equipment be available for use by children. With the proper teacher guidance, the material can be used to stimulate children’s early learning with a focus on literacy, numeracy and life skills.
The teachers are properly trained to be able to use the learning, teaching and support materials in stimulating children.
Early childhood development programmes have been recognised as one of the most powerful tools for breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty in South Africa.
Studies found that children who participate in well-conceived ECD programmes tend to be more successful in school, are more competent socially and emotionally, and show higher verbal and intellectual development during early childhood than children who are not enrolled in high quality programs.
However, very few South African children are exposed to quality early childhood education. In a country with nearly six million children under the age of four, only about 1.5 million children up to the age of five attend formal early childhood development centers with adequate infrastructure and facilities (Minister of Social Development at a symposium at the University of Fort Hare in 2016).
In most cases, poverty is the reason why so many children are left behind in terms of their physical, intellectual and emotional development. This impacts on their school performance and ultimately, on their adult lives. Too many children are going to basic daycare that offers no real stimulation. Many others simply stay home until they go into Grade R. This is a problem, particularly in rural and poverty-stricken areas. Due to poverty, these children are being deprived of the opportunity to develop in line with their peers and this has a lifelong impact.