Tracey Chambers & GROW

GROW is a non-profit organisation which operates in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) space in South Africa. While there are several organisations which are making an impact on ECD development, GROW is committed to addressing this sector through a single integrated and holistic approach.

What are some of the challenges GROW faces?

Tracey says “less than half of low-income children across the world have access to high-quality early childhood programmes that could dramatically improve their opportunities for a better future. This statistic is tragic when one considers that skills developed in the first five years of your life greatly influences success later in life.”

She continues, “by increasing the access to quality, affordable early childhood education will offer individuals and society major benefits such as reduced healthcare costs, increased school achievement and a more educated workforce.” This is what they strive to achieve.

How do you overcome these challenges?

At GROW, they deliver high-quality ECD education to under-resourced communities. “Our franchise model is an all-in-one solution, providing structure and equipment, business and education training, a world-class curriculum, operating plans, branding and much more. We support the upliftment of poor communities by fostering a sense of pride in their own ability to create centres of ECD excellence. Our school principals remain the owners of their school and are fully responsible for their school’s success.”

How is GROW making a difference?

“We believe that through empowerment and partnership, we can help women and children reach higher levels of potential than they ever imagined. They don’t need handouts – they need a mentor, a guide, a partner who has the experience and the commitment to walk a long-term journey with them to self-sufficiency. This is how we can move from dependence to dignity.” There are currently 32 GROW operations underway with Educare Centres – currently based in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Tracey says, “by January 2020 we aim to have 52 schools across these regions.”

Some feedback from a recent programme:

“Virginia Ndzakana from GROW with Mayazi Educare Centre in Maitland: Before, Virginia’s childcare centre lacked resources, qualified teachers, proper planning and programmes, learning materials, policies and procedures, tables, mattresses, blankets and nutritious food. Now, the school looks good and has all the necessary resources. Virginia proudly states that the ‘parents recruit other parents by recommending my school as the best school/crèche in Maitland.’ The teachers have a sense of freedom in the way they work with the children and Virginia. The children are happy, healthy and responsive. They are eager to come to school and don’t want to leave at the end of the day.”

Words of encouragement for communities or people in need of hope?

Stay focused and work towards a bigger purpose. GROW is making a difference in the ECD sector and offering communities the resource they need to ‘grow’ regardless of circumstances. Their feedback is a clear indication that, with the help of professional training and guidance, anything is possible.