BLINK BEGIN CHILDREN IN THEIR NEW UNIFORMS
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD)
PACT has identified ECD as a critical area of engagement. Presently, PACT has various programs in place that focus on early childhood development for children 3 – 5 years of age.
Blink Begin means Bright Beginnings. This project focuses on quality intervention, and PACT chose to work with the most vulnerable children in the community, whose parents are unable to afford early childhood classes. 15 children from the ages of 4-5 are registered as Grade RR. They attend classes from Monday to Friday 8am to 1pm. These children also received sponsored uniforms.
Staff familiarize themselves with each child, including their family and home situation. It is here that each child feels safe and has a voice. There is a dedicated play area, and this has been recently upgraded with artificial grass.
Below are some of the special Blink Begin extra activities:
- Swimming classes with the visiting Belgian teacher students.
- Excursions to Gay’s Dairy to learn about farm animals.
- Right to Care sessions around personal hygiene and healthy food.
- Local clinic visits.
- Baking classes.
- Sharing is Caring outreach to less fortunate children and pensioners in the community.
The Blink Begin ECD initiative wishes to build a confident child in every area of life. From becoming school ready to finding their own expression and creativity and finally encouraging children to have a voice.
PACT also supports Amenity Creche in Leeu-Gamka in various ways.
DOEN EN LEER
Since October 2021 PACT has partnered with Do and Learn (Doen en Leer) and Friends of Afrikaans (a subsidiary of the Afrikaans Language and Culture Association) to implement several initiatives in Prince Albert to address reading literacy. Afrikaans is the mother-tongue of the Prince Albert community and research has unequivocally shown that to read and learn in your mother tongue in the primary phase of schooling gives a child the best opportunity in terms of academic performance and the ability to learn new and other languages from Grade 4.
All Foundation Phase Educators and Educator Assistants of Primary Schools in the town were trained in the Do and Learn Programmes targeting approximately 170 Learners between Grade R and Grade 4.
In the “Night School” project Do and Learn Facilitators then present “night classes” at the PACT centre to a further 18 senior Learners (Grade 7 to 11). These Learners are also part of the Cycling Upliftment Project where they have been training as MTB cyclists, bicycle technicians and guides. Five learners have completed the program and are now enrolled for the Study Method Module, and are also members of a pilot Youth Book Club coordinated by a local community member and the public library.
Do and Learn night classes are presented by youth from the community who have been trained in presenting the Do and Learn Program, whilst creating an employment and income earning opportunity for unemployed youth in our town.
The project is also implemented at the Christelike Akademie and Kweekvallei schools, as well as Hantam trust in Colesberg. This project is to be expanded to schools within the district such as Leeu Gamka, Klaarstroom and possibly Merweville.
SCHOOL INTERVENTIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS
PACT works closely with the Prince Albert Primary school, Leeu Gamka primary school and Zwartberg High School. This partnership takes on many forms from e-learning to collaborating on PACT community events.
High School Students participate in a series of career workshops presented by the Department of Labour in collaboration with PACT. The prefect body also have a weekly engagement with PACT at the Centre in the form of leadership training and scholar participation in the annual #us4us festival held in Rondomskrik. From 2023, PACT and Zwartberg High school will partner with a national corporate to develop leadership and management skills for the teaching staff.
In partnership with ASSITEJ, the PACT centre empowers art facilitators (all previously unemployed) to teach dance at the Prince Albert Primary school. These facilitators receive training in musical performance and are able to build on their basic skills through lessons on the keyboard, guitar and drums.
These art facilitators engage with pupils at the Prince Albert Primary school during school hours and at the PACT centre in the afternoons, with the intention of bringing performing arts back into the school curriculum. The facilitators’ training enhances their own skills and the group are currently writing an anthem for the Centre.
ASSITEJ have also trained 4 art facilitators in Leeu-Gamka who now work in a similar fashion at Leeu-Gamka Primary. Children at the school currently attend visual art classes with Elcado Blom who teaches art on a monthly basis at the PACT centre.
VIRTUAL LEARNING AND COMPUTER LITERACY
PACT has engaged the Hope Warriors and staff in an e-learning space with a focus on interactive teaching and learning. Areas that are covered: Microsoft Office, Photoshop, video editing and graphic design.
Laptops, iPads, editing programs, admin programs
SPEEL EN LEER CENTRE
A strategic decision was taken at the end of 2021 that children attending PACT’s after-care program would be taught and engaged with through both creativity and play, in order to grow numeracy, literary confidence and social skills: hence the new name Speel en Leer. A quarterly detailed program is planned for the upcoming term and woven into all activities including sport, dance, performance, theater, craft, design and music. Various venues within North End are utilized for these purposes, such as the Sport facility at the Sydewill William’s center.
PACT CENTRE LIBRARY
Through the donation of books – ranging from reference to literature and children’s picture books – PACT has established a library at the PACT centre aimed at encouraging reading and improving literacy. Training for the interns running the library has been facilitated by Prince Albert’s municipality librarians. All book donations are welcome!
This project is a mentorship and team-building exercise for the prefect group from Zwartberg High School. It is headed up by PACT centre’s director Naaim, and focuses on building confidence, getting to know each other and identifying personal strengths and weaknesses. One of the main activities is to map out each individual’s vision for themselves and their school. Naaim is tasked with supporting this group to put these plans into action. Team building activities such as drumming and singing help to build a strong and confident prefect group.
EK IS OULIK
Personal transformation sits at the heart of PACT’s work with young people, and the organisation endeavors to facilitate growth around self-esteem and mental wellness. Part of this work is facilitated by the salon project Ek is Oulik (EIO). Using the socio-cultural value of hair, PACT has created a care programme which allows children and young people access to hair and nail care, as well as hygiene products (such as sanitary towels, deo and toothpaste). PACT has appointed a full time EIO Officer to run the project and manage sensitive disclosures or referrals.
PACT plans to build a dedicated salon space in 2023, building onto the EIO model to additionally create a social enterprise for young women who have gone through their youth development training at the centre.
Hygiene and care products for boys and girls, hairdryers, clippers, styling products, beauty training, basic counselling skills training
ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE (GBV)
PACT, in partnership with the Department of Social Development in Prince Albert, is committed to creating awareness around GBV- ensuring that the implementation of GBV programs extend beyond the 16-days of Activism and become established 365-day campaigns.
The Youth Desk at the PACT centre is part of the 365-day campaign and is headed up by the centre’s director, Naaim. The Youth Desk identifies current issues affecting children and the broader community, and designs programs or shows to address these specific topics. PACT has a wonderful partnership with Warrant Officer Frey (SAPS) who visits the centre and puts on puppet shows for the children, with various themes addressing social issues. Sports events are also held to bring people together and create a sense of pride in the community.
Funding for in-house Youth Desk training, puppet shows, puppets, sports equipment
CLEAN AND GREEN
The Clean and Green campaign aims to protect and care for the centre by engaging children and youth in leading an environmentally conscious lifestyle. All staff and the Blink Begin registered children start their day by sweeping the courtyard, picking up litter and showing gratitude for their space and environment.
Berg Bokkie Fiets Span
Registered children at the centre can make use of bicycles donated by BEN’s bikes and Arno Botha, local cyclist and member of the Prince Albert Community Cycling Club. Youth cyclists who are more serious receive training and opportunities through the engagement of Arno and teacher Charles Ewerts, who cycles weekly with the PACT children to different locations in the area. Helmets and vests are mandatory. The centre follows strict policies and procedures regarding the use of PACT bicycles – each one is numbered to track usage and maintenance.
Scholars, along with Jayden Jacobs, are responsible for bike maintenance. Jayden was trained and mentored as a junior mechanic while volunteering in Arno Botha’s workshop.
Bicycles for children and youth, helmets, vests and cycling shoes are most appreciated, as well as any second- hand parts.
PACT children and youth have access to Pilates classes for 6 months of the year while LA based accredited Pilates teacher Yvette Breedt is in South Africa.
Children and youth have access to Yoga classes with Marijke Coornaert, who resides between Prince Albert and Belgium.
All children of the community are welcome to participate in the Prince Albert parkrun. parkrun children and youth runners receive fruit after every parkrun and those who complete 10 registered parkruns receive a pair of takkies.
Chess is one of the most popular games at the centre and many of the young people see chess as a way to help with personal discipline and calming their minds. Most of the registered children are skilled in playing chess.