GABORONE – The Day of the African Child 2022 now has even greater significance for the community of Kavimba, as this year was commemorated through the official launch of a first of its kind Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre in the heart of the village. Reaffirming efforts to uplift the community through play, children now have a dedicated safe space for their daily playgroup sessions.
The centre was inaugurated by the children of Kavimba for the children of Botswana. It is the first dedicated ECD centre of its kind in Botswana and serves as an example of what we can achieve when we work hand in hand with the community to uplift whole communities and their children.
In June 2020, Learn To Play was granted its first plot of land to develop for the Kavimba playgroup by the Kavimba Village Development Committee, an important step in working to create and cultivate opportunities for families to play, learn and thrive in the community. Now, 2 years later, the centre is a permanent, yet environmentally conscious, brick and mortar structure with ablution facilities and spaces for mamapreneurs to run playgroup sessions, store key materials and provide a safe space for snack time each day, protected from natural elements, weather extremes and even wildlife in the area.
Said Learn To Play Founder, Priyanka Handa Ram, “This is a momentous occasion and we are so excited to share it with the entire Kavimba community, who have embraced our efforts and worked with us for the last 4 years. Since Learn To Play started in Kavimba, we have trained 6 mamapreneurs, not only providing them knowledge in ECD, child protection, nutrition and mindfulness (among other areas) but vocational skills like gardening, bee-keeping, lethaka straw making and training in First Aid. Learn To Play now has approximately 150 children and their families being directly impacted through the playgroup. For us, this is more than a job; we’re pioneering programmes that create vibrant villages on the African continent, and Kavimba is a great example of this in action.”
Speaking at the launch, Munitenge Sinvula III of Kavimba said, “I embraced the Kavimba initiative as I saw benefits such as children having access to quality early childhood interventions which include a curriculum designed for play, learning and holistic wellbeing. The initiative also builds self-esteem in marginalised women by empowering mamapreneurs through vocational training.”
Learn To Play shares heartfelt thanks to numerous donors and partners who contributed in various ways to the project. The project would not have been possible without the generous donation of the plot by the VDC to develop and use to run playgroups in the village, and to the US Embassy who provided an initial grant for the project. The support of the community, Chobe District Council and the Kgosi and his office have been invaluable to this project – their leadership, guidance and involvement has made it all possible.
Other generous donors include Moralo Designs, the Rotary E-club of Riddarfjarden in Stockholm, Panda Bricks, Chobe Safari Lodge, Jamal Trading, Bohua, Builders World, Elephants Without Borders. Mwandi View and Muchjene Campsite and Cottages have assisted during the entire project, and even donated time, effort, toys and resources to the Learn To Play Kavimba Playgroup. Kwando Safaris, Azzuro Diamonds, Beabond, Mosha Spa, The Finishing Touch and Sanitas have all come on board to fundraise for the event with their raffle prizes and fundraiser event. A local photographer from Kavimba, Ntema Mompati Mabutha from Nuz Photography donated his services to cover the event.
Concluded Priyanka, “Impact and support can exist in many ways, as we strive to work with the community to ensure we make a meaningful difference in the spirit of botho and tomagano. For example, we recently celebrated an incredible lady in Kavimba engaged to provide the daily snack for playgroups. The contract for phaphatas has enabled her to save for a much-needed eye operation, which has itself been a success. This is just one of many stories that show the need and impact of working together to transform the way the world cares for, educates and protects young children and communities.”