Themba’s story

Ducats like many townships in South Africa battles high levels of alcohol and drug abuse.

Children in this community have to overcome challenging circumstances to survive their harsh living conditions. It is no surprise then that the Cotlands early learning playgroup in this area is a ray of hope and is one of our most successful sites.

Braving the odds children come regularly to play and learn. One such child is Themba.


Themba was one of the first children to enrol in our early learning programme. He was 4 when he started his learning journey. As an active child Themba was keen to try every new game or activity that came his way.

“His enthusiasm was evident from the first class,” says his early learning facilitator Phakama.

Themba is now 5 years old and is in Grade R. His school teacher is impressed with his knowledge and how quickly he grasps new concepts.

Eastern Cape regional manager, Patricia Gunn says that part of the provinces high unemployment levels is due to a lack of early childhood education opportunities. “For children like Themba who are being raised in environments that lack safe places to play, the Cotlands early learning playgroups gives them a space to learn and explore without fear. This fearless exploration is an important part of a child’s development and forms the foundation for later learning. ”

 Gunn added, “Themba’s academic future is bright, he has the right tools to help him learn in the classroom. Because of this I am hopeful that he will break the cycle of poverty his family is trapped in”.