Thursday, March 24, 2016

A view from the Finance Desk

Hello Friends,

I am happy to be blogging today, something we finance people rarely get to do. Creating child safe environments is a dynamic process that involves active participation and responsibility by everyone in the community – individuals, families, government and non-government organisations and community groups. Sharing responsibility for the care and protection of children helps to develop a stronger, more child-focused community. 

A community conscious of safe spaces for its children can: 
  • care for all children; 
  • identify vulnerable children; support children who have been abused and neglected; 
  • and prevent further harm to children. 
At Nhaka Foundation our programs help communities and schools to provide safe environments for children. Through our Early Childhood Development (ECD) outdoor playground equipment construction and ECD Classroom renovation we have been able to create a safe playing environment for ECD pupils. A child's environment affects their development and behavior. A well-planned, indoor and outdoor environment makes it easier for children to learn, to get along with one another and become independent. Effective environments can also make things easier for the parents, teachers and guardians. Be it a school or home setting, a positive learning environment is crucial for a child. A positive learning environment not only consists of the physical setting, but it also encompasses how the child feels or responds to the setting.

What I have learnt through the work we do at Nhaka Foundation? Young children need teachers who take time to work with them individually, in small groups, and sometimes with the entire class–to help them develop their cognitive and social skills, their language abilities, and their interest in learning new things about the world. Through our ECD para professional and teacher training program teachers receive in service training to build their capacity in line with child development trends. The focus of a child safe environment is not simply to create an environment that minimises risk or danger. Rather it is about building an environment which is both child-safe and child-friendly, where children feel respected, valued and encouraged to reach their full potential.

A lot still needs to be done in the communities we serve. Being the "number cruncher" means that I get to see how we spend our funding directly on the children we serve each and every day. We need more and you can help in your individual or collective efforts. Visit our webpage DONATE button and partner with us as we carry out this work.

Until next time,


Monday, March 7, 2016

Special needs education: Creating an inclusive learning environment

Dear Friends,

In recent weeks we have worked with a number of children that need support through special needs education. As we have interacted with communities and teachers we have noticed a few things that need to be addressed urgently. Firstly, the teachers are not adequately trained to support children with special needs especially when it comes to providing them with support. Secondly the schools are not resourced well enough to ensure that the children enjoy their right to education alongside their compatriots. According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe every child has the right to education.  All children are included in this clause regardless of the fact that they have special needs or not. Special needs education refers to children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. Many children will have special needs of some kind at some time during their education. (  The UN General Assembly held in March 1994 outlined in relation to standard rules on the equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities: “Education in mainstream schools presupposes the provision of interpreter and other appropriate support services. Adequate accessibility and support services, designed to meet the needs of persons with different disabilities should be provided”
In order to ensure that children with special needs have access to the same level of education as a child otherwise classified as normal child inclusive education has been adopted.
UNESCO views inclusive education as implying four key terms:
  1. “It is essentially a process of looking for the most appropriate ways of responding to diversity, as well as of trying to learn from differences.
  2. It is linked to the motivation and development, through multiple strategies of students’ creativity and their capacity to address and resolve problems.
  3. It comprises the right of the child to attend school, express his/her opinion, experience quality learning and attain valuable learning outcomes.
  4. It implies the moral responsibility of prioritising those students who are at risk of being marginalised and excluded from school, and of obtaining low learning outcomes.”
Despite being more vulnerable to developmental risks, young children with disabilities are often overlooked in mainstream programmes and services designed to ensure child development. They also do not receive the specific support required to meet their rights and needs. Children with disabilities and their families are confronted by barriers including inadequate legislation and policies, negative attitudes, inadequate services, and lack of accessible environments. If children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families are not provided with timely and appropriate early intervention, support and protection, their difficulties can become more severe, often leading to lifetime consequences, increased poverty and profound exclusion. All Early Childhood Development, Education and Human Rights actors should therefore commit to advancing not only the needs of children but also give special attention to the area of inclusive education. 

As part of Nhaka Foundation’s contribution to supporting inclusive education and ensuring that children with special needs are able to achieve their full educational potential we are committed to assist this cause by facilitating the identification, assessment and documenting of children with special needs in the areas that we work in. Nhaka Foundation undertakes to support District Officers in the Department of Social Services to assist children with special needs access education. Finally, we also seek to raise awareness in communities on the right to education for all children including those with special needs and the importance of allowing these children the same opportunity to reach their full potential as their able bodied peers.

Lets all work to promote the interests of EVERY child!

Best wishes,