A message from our CEO – 3 April 2020
In response to Coronavirus: It’s never been more important to support women-owned micro-enterprises and young children.
Although all our GROW Educare Centres have been closed since 18 March we’ve certainly not been on a holiday!
Our priority is to support ECD owners, equip parents so that children can #keepGROWing, and to ensure that our centres are ready to serve their communities as soon as lockdown ends. We’ve also been rethinking our strategies and how we work. As a nonprofit organisation, it’s crucial that we not only respond to COVID19, but lead our beneficiaries and industry.
These challenging times have brought us new opportunities. It’s helped our team to refocus our energy on the areas where we can have the biggest impact.
Here’s what we are doing during this time to adapt to the Coronavirus and keep serving our communities:
1. Activity kits for parents
Our Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres are equipping parents with educational activity kits and tips which children can do at home. We want to ensure children #keepGROWing during the lockdown holiday.
2. Support learning at home
We are sharing practical tips and ideas on our social media channels to help parents with play-based learning activities at home. Our tips are all low cost and don’t require any special equipment
3. Digital training for teachers
We are pivoting our business model (which requires a lot of training and mentoring of teachers and business owners) to embrace online and digital learning. We’re making sure that our teachers and teacher interns can continue to develop their skills should we not be able to train in groups after lockdown.
4. Implementing our ECD app
We’ve launched a mobile app which helps ECD centre owners manage their entire business from the palm of their hands. During the lockdown, we’re using this time to train and implement the app.
5. Helping ECD centres survive
We’ve developed a comprehensive document on Tips for ECD Centres to help them survive Coronavirus. This document guides ECD owners regarding managing and keeping their staff, protecting their cash flow, supporting parents, reducing their expenses, and protecting children.
6. Fundraising for emergency salary subsidies
It’s crucial that our ECD centres remain sustainable during this time, and that we retain the valuable teaching talent that we’ve invested in. Many centres face serious cashflow hurdles because parents may not be able to pay school fees, which could result in an inability to pay teacher salaries. We’ve started fundraising for emergency salary support subsidies. MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has already committed R100 000 – thank you!
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After Coronavirus: The way we operate will never be the same again.
Our leadership team and all employees who can work from home are doing so. We’re investing our energy into asking the right questions, thinking deeply about how we can work smarter and better, and how we can support and continue to serve, during this challenging time.
Our sincere and heartfelt THANKS to every partner, funder, volunteer, supplier and friend who has supported us. With you at our side, we are brave and hopeful.
Tracey Chambers and the GROW team