Updates from Centocow

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Updates from Centocow

P1010437 acI have just returned home after my fifth visit to Centocow. My mission was to find out which Early Years Practitioners had received the first round of the Persona Doll training which was funded by the Exmouth and Centocow Linking Association and to steer the progress of the follow up training for the teachers. In 2001 I had first arrived here as a volunteer with Hands Around the World and helped to set up the Isibani Sezwe Centocow Association, the association of pre-school teachers in this vast rural area. Back then there were eighteen pre-schools and now I hear there are about fifty! The Association is important for the morale of the teachers and regular meetings are an opportunity for teachers to share ideas, practice and feel connected.

 

pre-schoolI visited some 12 pre-schools. Bev Everett drives long distances to remote pre-schools monthly to take bags of maize, soya mince and vegetables to 15 or 16 pre-schools. Most of these I had visited in previous years and many of the school teachers were familiar to me.

Persona Dolls

Jane with Lindiwe
Jane with Lindiwe

This time I had brought with me Lindiwe, my Persona Doll and a picture story book of which I had a copy in Zulu and one in English. After greeting the staff and children, I introduced Lindiwe to the children and told the children the story in English, each page followed by the Zulu teacher’s version.

During our visits we sought out participants of the recent Persona Doll training; we had a register of attendees sent to us. We found that the ladies who were trained were working for TREE as Family Support Workers. TREE has put a great deal of energy into the training of these women who visit rural families in the area. The women help families with social grants, health care and parenting skills and the addition of Persona Doll training to help the children to communicate their emotional needs is a great breakthrough in the care of children.2 Persona Dolls

Nondamezele was one, she was amazed at how easily a young orphan who had been rehomed was prompted to tell her of his fears and anxieties by his introduction to the Persona Doll. Another trainer we met was similarly impressed. The teachers who had learnt about the use of the dolls because they were in the same community as the family support workers were very keen to have the training.

The Pre-school Association

A meeting of the Pre-school Association was called and 27 teachers assembled in the community hall at Makholweni. Many of the teachers travel up to 20km to get to the meetings. The area covered by these pre-schools is approx. 700 km2 The teachers updated each other in their news and I introduced them to Lindiwe and explained the Persona Doll training to them. The women were keen to participate.

I made phone calls to the training co-ordinator at TREE and to the administration manager of Persona Doll training.
We have now arranged for the Persona Doll training to be delivered to the teachers during two of their Association meetings early in the New Year. The trainer who delivers the Persona Doll training has been trained by Persona Doll Training but is a trainer for TREE in Durban. There is an agreement between the two organisations that Thobekile the trainer will revisit centres where she has trained and ensure the practice is being maintained, giving advice and support where necessary.

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