We are delighted and celebrated with all our ECD
Practitioners and children on the annual graduation
ceremony. Congratulations to all.
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All donations are in South African rands (ZAR)
All donations are in South African rands (ZAR)
All donations are in South African rands (ZAR)
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My name is Eden Mabila, a centre manager at Thembumelusi educare centre at Magudu, Nkomazi Mpumalanga. I have worked for Thembumelusi educare centre for six years, since 13 august 2014. Before I heard of Ntataise Lowveld I worked for two years at the centre having no knowledge of ECD or working with children, all I did was to play with children, provide them with nutritious food. One day I heard about Ntataise Lowveld Trust, an organisation which train ECD Practitioners and I had to go and get information. The staff was so friendly and professional that they made me interested in joining and do the ECD courses with them.
This was the beginning of a change in my life, I enrolled for the Level 1 course and i got the basic knowledge in ECD in the year 2014. In 2015 I was fortunate to be part of the practitioners who were sponsored by Standard Bank South Africa to study for my NQF level 4 in ECD. I was exposed to a broader platform of information which assisted me with my carrier. From there I became a principal at Thembumelusi educare, and I have been able to run the centre since then up to now. With all the support, knowledge and information I got from Ntataise Lowveld programmes such as enrichment, toy and book. I am able to manage a successful ECD centre. We have a lot of improvised toys (which we make ourselves all thanks to Ntataise Lowveld’s Enrichment Programme), well displayed classrooms with age appropriate early learning developmental areas clearly visible and easily accessible by young children in my class. My office is well organized, warm and friendly. My centre is well enriched and I myself am proud of how far I have come. I have entered competitions such as the NDA awards in 2015 and I won best practitioner,and also one of my practitioner won best practitioner in 2018 on the same NDA awards. I am able to get donations and support from other entities through the information I have gained from Ntataise Lowveld. I monitor the classrooms and engage with my practitioners as well as the community to keep up with high standard of performance in the centre. Parents appreciate the job well done in the centre, as they see the difference development in their children lives. Our children are recognised as the best in the foundation phase in the area. I thank Ntataise Lowveld for all they have done in equipping me with the kind of information I have gained. I am now a qualified practitioner and proud holder of my ECD NQF Level 4 certificate which I received at my graduation in 2016.
My name is Sybil Mthethwa, I am 42 years old, and I come from a small village called Mgobodzi in Nkomazi Mpumalanga. I am a single parent of 6 children, I grew up with love and passion for children, and that is why I say my children are a blessing from God. I was able to raise my children with the help from my elder sister who was employed as a nurse. One day it came to my mind that although I am unemployed, I can still follow my dream which is teaching. It makes me feel nostalgic today to write about something that I love and admire, which is nurturing children.
It all started in 2009 when my mother was working at Thuthuka educare centre in Mgobodzi, she asked the principal to employ me as a practitioner because she knew I was capable of doing the job. I was employed as a practitioner at the centre in 2009 with no skill or knowledge in working with children. Being able to interact with children was a privilege and honour for me. In 2010, the principal persuaded me to attend the Ntataise Lowveld Pre School Orientation Programme workshops which were offered monthly.
Enrolment and participation in this workshop led me to do the ECD NQF Level 4 in 2014. Sadly, my joy was short-lived when I lost my mother the same year. The loss of my mother made me too frail to be effective as a learner. I had to drop out. A few months later, still, during grief, I remembered that I had made a promise to my mother that I will always do my best and strive to be my best version indeed. I thank Standard Bank because they afforded me and opportunity to re-enter the ECD training now with enthusiasm and even more passion. I was exceptional during the trainin. I was determined to achieve my goal. After successfully completing my NQF Level 4, fate stepped in. I was honoured and felt so privileged to be called in by Ntataise Lowveld to work as an assistant trainer. I know it's because of all the hard work I had put in during my training. I realised that dreams delayed are never dreams denied but that the Lord is moulding and shaping me.
My joy was boundless. I used the exceptional qualities, skills, and expertise in me which led me to be employed as an enrichment assistant trainer in the enrichment programme. I stepped in confidently and the thought of achieving my goals was my driving force. Over the initial year of intense training, I acquired good results and was pleasantly surprised when in 2018 I was offered a job as an assistant trainer for the NQF Level 4. It was evident that now I had grown in leaps and bounds.
My love and passion for the ECD sector was burning more than ever. I achieved goals and overcame huge challenges, and against odds made it. I am grateful that I am doing my job to the best of my ability, as I am a dedicated, committed, and resilient person who puts her heart and mind in all she does. What a joyful moment it was for me to graduate. My only regret is that my beloved Mom was not physically present to see me achieve such accolade, I know she was smiling and dancing up in heaven. I made her proud.
My story does not end here. Ntataise Lowveld gave me the opportunity to further my studies and I successfully completed my NQF Level 5. My next step is to register for an Assessor and Moderator course then for my BA Degree. In 2019 I was appointed as a senior trainer at Ntataise Lowveld. My life has changed for the better and its all thanks to Standard Bank and Ntataise Lowveld. Thank you for ensuring that one's socio-economic status does not determine their future. Thank you for contributing to the story of my life. I know the ending chapter is going to be profound.
My name is Makhosazana Ndaba. A mother of 2 from Katlehong, Germiston. Currently, I’m working at Ntataise Lowveld Trust in Nkomazi, Nelspruit. I work as an ECD level 4 senior trainer and an assessor.
Where it all started. It's 2004 when my mom opened a daycare centre in the back room of our home. I was not working at the age of 23 with a daughter of 4 months old and little knowledge of taking care of children. My mother said I will be a teacher and she would be in the kitchen cooking for them. The love of working with children was there, but the knowledge and skills were not there. We started with 3 children on our first day. What I taught them was naming their body parts and do songs and rhymes I remembered from my childhood. By the end of the year, we had 20 children. This was a huge achievement for me and my mom.
In 2005 I started my early childhood training at KELRU, I was doing level 1. That is where I started my academic learning in ECD
In 2008 I got an opportunity to work at KELRU as an enrichment programme facilitator. I started with a group of 25 practitioners. This experience was extraordinary. The transformation I made in the practitioners' classrooms was amazing. The programme suited the children’s needs and interest I can say objectives were met, that was driven by my dedication, enthusiasm and passion. In 2010 I did my ECD level 4 qualification with Mathew Goniwe. I also did an assessor course.
I then joined Ntataise Lowveld trust in 2015. I am a level, 4 senior trainer and assessor. I have had 2 graduations so far of more than 200 practitioners. I have equipped them with knowledge, skill and accredited certification which helps eradicate the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Some of them are entrepreneurs in their own right because they have their own ECD centres and have employed others as well. I don’t regret being in this field of work as making a difference in children, parents and the community make my life whole and complete.
My name is Mildred Mkhatshwa. I’m a female adult from kaMhlushwa in Nkomazi sub-Region. I am a mother of four children. Currently, I am working for Ntataise Lowveld Trust as a skills Development Trainer and assessor. I also do parenting training, home visits programme. I am also a Toy librarian.
In 2012 I was always sitting at home doing nothing. I had a neighbor who was looking after children. Sometimes when I was bored, I would go to her house so that I can play with the children to keep myself busy since I was unemployed. My neighbor had many children that she was looking after but there were no toys for them to play with. I felt sorry for these poor children because most of the time they would be told to go to sleep. I had a friend who was also not employed and also a neighbor. Every morning I would see her dressed nicely leaving her house. I happen to see her close and I asked if she is now working? She said no she is not working but she was attending classes at Ntataise for ECD. I asked her what is Ntataise and what is ECD because I had never heard of such a name before. She explained the meaning of Ntataise, that it means HOLDING A CHILD BY THE HAND. She also explained the meaning of ECD that it is meaning EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT. It got me interested in ECD. I asked this closest neighbor of mine as to how do I get to train myself at Ntataise for the ECD. She told me how I can register, and she said she can take me to Ntataise to register wherever I am ready. I started by attending workshops at Ntataise. I enjoyed attending the workshops. The trainer (May Hlatshwayo) was so welcoming. She made me want to attend again and again. I put money together to register for level four.
2013 I registered and started attending level four training. When attending level four I went to ask to volunteer at my neighbors’ garage where I use to keep myself busy before attending in Ntataise. My neighbor allowed me to volunteer at her garage where she was looking after children. I started helping her change the garage into an ECD setting. We made print reach and put it on the wall
The parents of the children were happy when they saw that their children were learning. Sometimes, my trainer, May would ask me to go with her when she was doing workplace visits so that I will see how other practitioners are doing in their Centre to make it easy for me when writing my assignments. I enjoyed going with my trainer to the different schools. In my heart I imagined myself training people in ECD after visiting those different centers with my trainer.
In the middle of 2014, I finished my level four training and from time to time I would go to Ntataise to help my trainer with some of her work. I volunteered for the remaining months in 2014. In December 2014 there was a vacant post for a level four trainer and I put my CV, I got the post and in 2015 I started working as a level trainer. As I was working as a trainer the manager thought I can do well in doing toy library where I read stories to the children and play with them with the toys. The manager saw me help the practitioner during workplace observation and support. During support visits, I used to show the practitioners how children should sit during storytime, and I would read to the children myself. I was trained to do toy library in 2016. From there I’m doing toy library for Ntataise Lowveld. In 2017 I went for parenting training. In 2018 I trained the play groups ELFs and the communities around me. I hold parenting workshops once a months. I work with the parents and also the children when I do home visits. Working in ECD has changed my life as a whole. Before working here I did not know that a child develops holistically and in order for that to happen they need to be stimulated. Ntataise showed me love. I have a son whom I got in 2013, when I was starting to learn ECD. I learnt that I have to play with him, which I did not know with my other children. I play with my son and we bond as we play. ECD helped me to treat people with respect, even young children. The love I have for other people was shown to me as I learned in the ECD sector I am an ECD trainer today because my life was changed and I’m showing the love I got here to other people.
2011 August I was one of the best field officers for an NGO called (TCE) Total Control of the Epidemic. I was selected to go and study the Development Instructor course, at Kwazulu Natal Experimental College. In the middle of the course, ECO level 4 was then introduced to us. I was so happy to be one of the students selected to do the course.
After completing my studies, I came back home to search for a job. During my job hunting, I was selling fat cakes as a Way to raise funds for transport fees and also to make more C.V copies for distribution. Some day in May 2017. It was a sunny day on the 9th of May 2017 when I met Ntataise Lowveld Trust. I was selling fat cakes around the streets of Nkomazi villages when I came across Ntataise Lowveld Trust offices at Mzinti trust.
I was attracted by the children on the sides of Ntataise cars. When I saw those children, I knew that anything concerning children was my absolute interest. I then decided to enter the premises and ask more about the organisation. The Ntataise staff welcomed me with warm hands and explained everything to me. I was so happy to know that Ntataise is the organisation I've been searching for.
Soon after I was called for an interview, I started to work as an ECO level 4 co-Facilitator. Since then I have grown in the field of ECO. With Ntataise, I've obtained a Level 5 higher certificate in ECO from UCO. I did an assessor short course and now I am waiting for an assessor number. I only got the statement of results from ETDP/SETA. I had an opportunity to conduct ECO level 4 trainings at Kanyamazane Alliance church.
I am so thrilled to be part of Ntataise as we continue to change lives in different communities we're working with. I can train, mark and assess POE's. I have learnt most of these at Ntataise. I am so proud of myself and the Ntataise team. I'm looking forward to growing with Ntataise.
My name is Nompumelelo Nkosi. I live at Newskom trust. In 2007 I joined Ntataise Lowveld and Ntataise Lowveld trained and helped me gain more knowledge about child development as well as equipping me with skills that help me holistically develop young children in my care.
Before I joined Ntataise Lowveld Trust I was a domestic worker. Ntataise Lowveld taught me how to stimulate young children according to their different ages as well as being mindful of their social wellbeing. I even learn to love and accept the children with disabilities.
I am so grateful today because I gained more experience and knowledge, I know how to deal with slow learning children and love and play with them. Ntataise Lowveld taught me how to lay out the classroom as well as out door activities.
I learn how to make a daily plan as well as a year plan to include all themes. I know how to draw up a healthy menu which guides us when we cook meals at my ECD centre. I am sensitive to and respect children’s different cultures and believes. Thanks to Ntataise Lowveld, Silindile Pre-school has been transformed to a beautiful, functional and stimulating environment.
I am so proud to work with children and the community. When I started working at Silindile Pre-school, my friend joined me and we worked wonderfully together. When she passed away, I thought this beautiful ECD centre we have started was over, I thought I could not do it on my own. Thank God I am still pushing on. I love my work and am passionate about stimulating young children, giving them knowledge and love.
I don't give up even though I have the small number of children now. I love my job, I even enjoy the activities, especially music movements, the more we move is the more their small mind, large & small muscles develop and their language when we sing and dance.
Once again I am very grateful for who I am because of Ntataise Lowveld. I am a Silindile ECD Practitioner.
My name is May Bathabile Mhlongo Hlatshwayo. Langeloop. I was raised by my parents Maria Lubisi and Aaron Mhlongo. I have 7 siblings, 2 brothers and 5 sisters. Being the first born, I had to take care of my siblings when both my parents died.
I attended Lomatidraai Primary School and proceeded to Lovunwa High School where I completed my matric.
By the Grace of my Redeemer, I got married to Johan Hlatswayo and we are blessed with 4 children, 2 sons and 2 daughters.
In 2002 I was a stay at home mother. One day I heard that Ntataise Lowveld was training ECD practitioners at Mzinti Training Centre; this was a learnership from ETDP Seta. Though I wanted to enrol, the learnership was only for 25 ECD practitioners, which meant that I could not register. I decided to volunteer at Matsafeni Pre-Primary School to fulfil my passion of working with young children. Though I had been declined enrolment, I went to the same training centre as I had faith that I will be allowed entry into the programme. Lo! And behold! On the first day of training the facilitator asked a volunteer to lead us in prayer. I jumped to the occasion, led the national anthem and finished with prayer. The facilitator was amazed by the amount of faith and spirit I had that she ended up enrolling an extra person (me) making her group a total of 26. The training course was very intense, most of my peers dropped out but I soldiered on. As a result of my dedication and commitment to my work, my Port Folio of Evidence was submitted for ETDP Seta’s External Moderation and my group was declared competent. From there I was nominated to be a Grade R practitioner by the curriculum implementer from the Department of Education; a job I executed with all my passion for 5 years.
Early 2008; Ntataise Lowveld trainers were conducting support visits at Matsafeni school, and they told me of a vacancy for a trainer. They encouraged me to apply and I did. Needless to say, 12 years later I am a proud staff member of this innovative and dynamic Resource and Training Organization.
As Ntataise Lowveld staff member, I worked my way up. I started as a facilitator with an NQF Level 4. I furthered my education and obtained a Diploma in ECD. Today I am a registered ECD assessor and Moderator. The organization has since appointed me an ECD Training Manager.
Ntataise Lowveld took me from nowhere and placed me in a position where I received so much recognition. Today, I am a well -known respected ECD advocate and guru in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga. I am appreciated and acknowledged by many ECD practitioners whom I have encouraged and mentored towards attaining their NQF Level 4 ECD qualification. Some of them are high profile individuals in government.
Ntataise Lowveld truly started from humble beginnings. Back then, Ntataise Lowveld had no office and all administration was done from home and meetings held at the founder Mrs Solomon’s Croc Valley residence. We have come a long way; today, our operation area includes rural Nkomazi, Mbombela and Bushbuck Ridge. We now boast a variety of ECD programme such as: Play groups, Skills Development Training, Toy and Book Programme, Enrichment Programme, Parenting Programme and Home Reading Programme. Ntataise Lowveld has created a lot of job opportunities for our people in the communities as well as exposing our ECD practitioners to best current practises in ECD while holistically stimulating young children in their care.
Before I retire, I want to give Ntataise Lowveld, an organization which gave so me so many opportunities for growth, my best. I am currently grooming young facilitators so that they too can be the best ECD facilitators the country has seen. I continue to preach the gospel of ECD to our less privileged communities.
I have come full circle. I was a student and now I am an ECD training manager at the very same organization where it all started.
It all thanks to Ntataise Lowveld.
My name is Nompumelelo Maluka. I have four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. I live at Luphisa trust. Before I got to know and interact with Ntataise Lowveld, I made a living selling second- hand clothes. Though I had no knowledge nor expertise at all on Early Childhood Development programme, I operated an informal creche from my home.
One day while listening to Ligwalagwala FM radio station, I heard one of Ntataise Lowveld representatives promoting and sharing the wonderful work that the organization is doing in our communities in as far as ECD programmes are concerned. What captured my attention on the day was the elaborate explanation regarding their training programmes as I had no formal training on ECD.
I approached the Ntataise Lowveld facilitators and enrolled for their monthly workshops and later successfully completed my ECD NQF Level 4 qualification.
I am now employed by the government at Lepesi Primary School as a Grade R teacher.
I would like to say a big thank you to Ntataise Lowveld for changing my life for the better. I am now a proud ECD practitioner that contributes to this country of ours.
Thank you !!!
My name is Bonga Muziwethu Masina, I am 35 year old man, I am currently holding a position as an Office manager at Ntataise Lowveld Nkomazi office in Mpumalanga. I am a father of 3 beautiful children, two boys and one beautiful girl. I started working at Ntataise Lowveld in 2012, I was introduced to early childhood development by the late Nkosinathi Dlamini who was working for Ntataise Lowveld as a toy and book librarian back since 2009 to 2011, I was unemployed during that time of the year. I was fascinated by the way Nkosinathi worked, playing with children, teaching them how to use and play with the toys, making improvised toys out of waste, but most importantly he worked freely on his own and he was loved by a lot of children, and I was caught by the love and excitement the children gave to him every time he visited them. I saw and witnessed all this during a day at which he invited me to an onsite visit and saw how he worked. From that day I fell in love with ECD, and I wanted to do what he was doing. In the same year 2010 I started to volunteer helping at Ntataise Lowveld cleaning, sorting, and cataloguing of toys helping Nkosinathi. I was from that moment exposed to understanding different types of toys and their importance during play. I was invited to an end year function of the staff in the year of 2010, and I got to know them and who they were and what they did in the organisation. In 2011 I continued to help and volunteer with the cleaning and sorting of toys.
The same year 2011 I applied for a toy and book librarian post which was based in Mbombela, unfortunately I did not get the job, but that did not stop me nor discourage me to continue explore and learn more about ECD. I continued in helping Ntataise Lowveld whenever they needed my help. I went on to help the lady who got the job and showed her how to clean, catalogue and sort the toys. I was at the same year invited to attend the CDP 3 days training with the staff in Johannesburg for the Literacy through Arts and Culture workshop. I felt like I was part of the staff from that moment onwards. I was so surprised on December 2011 when I got a call from the Director Mapule Mabandla who called me and asked me “how would I feel if I was to join the organisation and be part of it”, I told her “it was going to be an honour and a privilege for me to work for Ntataise Lowveld” as I was unemployed at that time and getting a job to help support my son was going to be a blessing. The first week of 2012 I was called for an interview and on that day I signed my contract as a toy librarian in Nkomazi Mpumalanga, I was so happy and excited I could not believe it myself that I had gotten the job, it did not matter to me that I did not know much about ECD, all I knew was that I was going to learn as much as I could, lucky for me I knew the most important thing which was the toys which I was going to use for the programme I was hired for. I attended more training workshops to help capacitate me into understanding the work I was doing very well.
From that year I did not hold back I took the opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands, and I told myself that I wanted to do my best to make a name for myself and I was willing to do and learn as much as possible about ECD and every work implemented by the organisation. I went on to do NQF ECD Level 4 while I was working within the organisation. I wanted to learn as much as possible, I was availing myself to do everything brought to my plate for me to learn and know every programme in the organisation. 2013 I did both toy and book library and enrichment programme, working hand in hand with May Hlatshwayo was even a bigger blessing for me, because she was a trainer and I was working with her with the same schools, I saw and learned what she was assessing in an ECD setting, it made my L4 training much easier because I was taking everything she was doing to heart and learning every time. May Hlatshwayo mentored me even more, she even believed in me because she would ask me to help her demonstrate the use of toys and she would give me a platform during her trainings to teach practitioners how to use the toys and share information about the importance of play. This made things easier for me to facilitate even though standing in front of women as a man was very difficult, but with the support I got I was able to execute every task given to me. With in two years working for the organisation I knew how every programme was implemented. In 2014 the organisation suffered the lost of Nkosinathi Dlamini who was the Office manager and implementing NCB playgroup programme, I was then nominated to continue with the NCB programme, luckily, I used to work with him in the programme and I learnt how it was operated so that made it easier for me to tackle the task.
I went on to do Community development training in 2015, this was to help me understand how to work with communities. The same year I was nominated to be the office manager, and I took that promotion with both hands, and I never looked back, it was the most challenging position to take but because I did a short course in business management, I was able to take on the position. 2016 I graduated and received my NQF ECD Level 4 certificate. I also did leadership development training to boost my leadership skills as a young man in a leadership position the training could not have come at a better time. It helped me get through a whole lot of challenges which I don’t think I would have managed if it was not for that training. The management position had put me in a position which led me into furthering my business management qualification of which I had also acquired my N4 – N5 Business management qualification thus far. As I am writing this story, I am still holding my office management position for 6 six years now, I am still learning and growing each day. I am still going strong, and I am hoping to grow more and developing more skills to further take my organisation to better heights along with the team. I am very grateful to Ntataise Lowveld for the opportunity they have given me and believing in me thus far. I would not have reached the position at which I am at today if it was not for Nkosinathi Dlamini who introduced me to ECD and taught me what I have grown to master today which is to bring change to every child’s life for the better, May Hlatshwayo for polishing my skills through exposing me to opportunities of teaching strategies and helping me learn more about ECD in a deeper level, the late Mapule Mabandla who gave me the opportunity to prove myself and trusted me with the job I got and talent she saw in me, lastly Kobie Oberholster my administrator who has shown me greater support even during times at which I thought I was not capable she pushed and believed in me. I am very much grateful for every opportunity I got and took advantage of; I have been working for Ntataise Lowveld for nine years now going for ten years in 2022. Ntataise is home for me I have never felt the need to look elsewhere as Ntataise Lowveld has groomed me to the person I am today, I will forever be grateful and I will never forget what the organisation has done for me, I am still at verge of making a name for myself through the work Ntataise Lowveld is trusting me to do in order to bring change to other people’s lives.
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