Networks Unlimited is a Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) contributor – but what it considers important is the fact that it is an active contributor to the future of South Africa through its children.

The company partnered with the Love Trust as a way of making its endeavours and its B-BBEE shareholding as meaningful as possible.

The Love Trust bought a 53% stake in the company, so it’s a true partnership and an active shareholder, explains Networks Unlimited MD Anton Jacobsz.

More importantly, he says, the two organisations share the same values, and the same desire to make a difference for South Africa’s youth.

The Love Trust is an education-focusses non-profit organisation that is particularly active in early childhood development, and equipping teachers in this important phase of a child’s life.

The organisation was set up in 2009 with a vision to grow a generation of servant leaders; and a mission to deliver excellent, values-based education to vulnerable children.

A central tenet of the Love Trust is the believe that the most effective way to make lasting and positive change is through the delivery of excellent education to these communities.

The trust’s Abigail Khuluse explains that teacher training takes place across the country, aiming to equip the people running child care facilities with early childhood development skills.

“A lot of these facilities traditionally offer little more than a baby-sitting service while parents are at work,” she says. “The Love Trust works to equip the teachers with the ability to put proper planning in place, and to help children to be better quipped for school through the implementation of an early childhood development programme.”

Through its teacher training centres, Love Trust provides South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) accredited training to NQF Level 4 and NQF Level 5 to pre-school teachers in rural and peri-urban communities.

Teachers are equipped to deliver on a curriculum and to ensure that milestones are not missed.

There are currently 11 centres nationwide, which have graduated nearly 500 students to date. A further 350 teachers are currently in the programme.

Teachers are able to participate in a two-year part-time training course but attending classes once a week while continuing to work. Those who don’t have a National Senior Certificate are also assisted to attain this during the same period.

Importantly, the trust follows up once training is completed, and ensures the teachers continue their own learning, and get the support they need to succeed.

The Love Trust’s Early Childhood Development Support currently supports 30 facilities in Tembisa with a curriculum, a resource centre, evaluation, monitoring and reporting.

Results are positives, and children in these facilities have shown holistic improvement by up to 48% within six months.

Khuluse adds that the organisation has also established a school in Tembisa.  Nokuphila School is a world-class institution that aims to provide quality education to the most underprivileged and vulnerable children in the community.

These include children from child-headed households, those living with unemployed parents or grandparents, or in abusive circumstances. “These really are the most vulnerable children,” Khuluse stresses.

The school provides a top-quality education, and also ensures that children have quality nutrition and access to transport.


The education crisis in SA

It’s extremely hard to get a job in South Africa without a matric certificate – but the country has a 50% drop-out rate from Grade 10 to Grade 12.

Children who cannot read in Grade 4 are not likely to get a matric at all – and yet a massive 80% of Grade 4s in South Africa are functionally illiterate.

Children who haven’t had access to early childhood development are often not able to read by Grade 4.

Without a trained, qualified a mentored teacher, early childhood development is restricted.

Despite this, 95% of the early childhood development teachers in rural and township communities across the country are untrained and unqualified to teach the children in their charge.

The Love Trust addresses this disconnect by helping the most vulnerable of South Africa’s children to access quality education during the vital pre-school years and further into their school careers.