Human Rights Month in Rustenburg: Empowering Day Mothers is crucial to achieving children’s rights in Zinniaville, Karlien Park, Dinie Estate, Seraleng and Kroondal 

by Tia

The DO MORE FOUNDATION (DMF) (founded by RCL FOODS) and Early Care Foundation (ECF) are empowering Day Mothers in five areas of Rustenburg to make a greater impact in the development, health and overall well-being of young children.

Young children (birth to 5 years) are among the most vulnerable members of South Africa, which is why our Constitution prioritises children’s rights in Section 28 of the Bill of Rights. It states that the best interests of a child are of paramount importance to be achieved through shared responsibility.

The ‘Everyone Gets To PLAY’ (EGTP) collective action model is a practical solution to making shared responsibility a reality. This model brings together early learning providers, families, government, business and other local partners to ensure the fulfilment of children’s rights to education, healthcare, food, water and social services, parental/caregiver care and shelter.    

Since March 2023, DMF and its implementing partner (ECF) have been working in Rustenburg to promote universal access to quality services that meet young children’s developmental rights and needs as outlined in the National Integrated ECD Policy. A scoping exercise conducted by ECF in partnership with DMF indicates that one of the major barriers to quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Zinniaville, Karlien Park, Dinie Estate, Seraleng and Kroondal is the lack of learning facilities for young children.

Without access to dedicated ECD centres and playgroups, parents/caregivers in these five areas leave their young children in the care of Day Mothers. The 2022 Stats SA Census Report confirms this at a provincial level, with 52.4% of young children in North West not participating in any ECD programme, compared to other provinces. 

A Day Mother will look after about six to eight children, ranging in age from six months up to four years, from her house while parents/caregivers are at work. 

There are 13 women currently enrolled in DMF’s Day Mother Programme; in total they support 80 children in the five communities. The programme aim is two-fold:

  • To find women already looking after children and train them on health and safety, nutrition, and early learning to develop an age-appropriate learning programme and environment for children.
  • To empower these women to establish a sustainable source of income to support their own families and contribute to the local economy.

Kabelo Mosate-Dambuza, Community Programmes Support in Rustenburg for DMF, underscores the significance of the programme, stating, “Day Mothers play a crucial role in expanding access to early learning facilities in communities where ECD centres are sparse. By providing targeted training and economic opportunities, we not only enhance child development but also uplift the livelihoods of these women.”

The successful expansion of the Day Mother Programme stands as a testament to the power of sustained and collective action to improve early learning access in Rustenburg and ensure the realization of children’s rights. 

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