Empowering education through play

International Nelson Mandela Day is celebrated annually on 18 July, to honour and commemorate the late South African political leader and revolutionary on his birthday. It is a day when people across the globe dedicate 67 minutes of their time to engage in activities that create a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of those in need.

The DO MORE FOUNDATION and RCL Foods, together with a diverse range of partners, are coming together to commemorate Mandela Day this year by highlighting the transformative impact of play in communities. In line with the official theme of Mandela Day 2023, “Climate, Food, and Solidarity,” this collaborative effort aims to emphasise the vital role of play while addressing important issues related to climate, food security and fostering solidarity within society.

Firmly underpinned by the principle of environmental sustainability and in alignment with this year’s Mandela Day theme, the DO MORE FOUNDATION has launched the Built to Play campaign. Partnerships manager at the foundation, Iris Naidoo, explains that the campaign name, Built to Play, draws attention to playing being an essential part of our development and the way we learn – right from the start of life and into adulthood. “This initiative is connected to the foundation’s purpose and its commitment to fostering a child-centred climate adaptation and resilience approach to its work,” she states.

The purpose of the campaign is to distribute play packs with toys made from upcycled material to 250 early childhood development centres in under-resourced communities. Each play pack includes items such as socks transformed into puppets, plastic bottle tops turned into colourful characters, and counting fish made from cardboard packaging. Singakwenza, a non-profit organisation that trains caregivers, designed the toys to support them in facilitating fun and educational play. This enables young children to develop vital foundational skills, backed by resources made from recycling.

The pack contents are intentionally selected to enhance various areas of development for these little ones, such as gross motor co-ordination, fine motor and visual co-ordination, cognitive and executive functioning, and more. These are critical development areas where a significant percentage of children in South Africa are lagging. In fact, according to the Thrive by Five Index 2022, 55% of South African children aged 4 and 5 years, attending early learning programmes, struggle to meet the expected learning tasks for their age group.

The foundation is calling on businesses to contribute to the mission of the campaign by sponsoring play packs. “Collaborating with businesses is crucial when it comes to making a positive impact on the lives of young children, asserts Naidoo. “They have the resources and expertise to help address complex social issues that affect children, such as poverty, education and health. By working together, businesses and organisations such as the DO MORE FOUNDATION can combine their strengths, resources and networks to create a more significant impact than they could alone,” she concludes.

For more information on how to sponsor a play pack, click here.

A picture of a handmade stick man made out of bottle caps and plastic bags.

Leave a Comment