January 2015: Cipla Foundation, the registered non-profit organisation (NGO) and social enterprise division of Cipla SA, announced the launch of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Campus in Cape Town’s Gugulethu Township.
The campus, made from Ajuga fire-resistant structures, is set to benefit at least 100 children in the local community and will be run in partnership with the Ikamva Labantu Charitable Trust – a NGO that supports township preschools in and around Cape Town – which will be responsible for the overseeing and the running of the campus.
Ajuga, an initiative launched in February 2013 by the Cipla Foundation, sees state of the art, fire-resistant structures deployed in areas that have the greatest need for enhanced ECD infrastructure, which is key to providing children with a safe environment in which to learn and interact.
Cipla Foundation’s Managing Trustee, David Grier says that investing in the early stages of children’s development is a highly expensive process that involves collaboration between many parties including Government, NGOs and private investors.
“Recognising the need to create a more cost-efficient turnkey solution that actually places the needs of the children at the centre of the design, Cipla Foundation designed and created the high-tech Ajuga infrastructure which can be instrumental in reducing societal inequality.”
Grier points out that the significance of the Ajuga ECD project lies in its holistic approach towards fulfilling the needs of the most vulnerable members of society by providing a place that provides not only quality education but sustainable nutrition, a safe environment and hygienic sanitation facilities
“The Ajuga structures are scientifically far superior from an infrastructural perspective than other crèches due to the design. The structures place the children in the centre so that they are protected from the outside world and can focus on their education and development in a safe and secure environment.’
He explains that the Ajuga ECD campuses are run in partnership with reputable local NGOs to ensure continued care and well-being. “However, the Ajuga structures do not only provide a perfectly thought out disaster proof crèche but a viable enterprise for the local community by enabling the employment.
Paul Miller, CEO of Cipla SA, says the Cipla Foundation saw an opportunity to make an invaluable contribution to society by investing in the development of these structures so that the other partners of an ECD project do not have to worry about the infrastructural elements and can simply plug the best NGO resources in and get started.
“The Ajuga structures ensure that young children have access to sustainable ECD services which enhance their physical, cognitive, social, mental and emotional development.” Miller adds that significant consideration went into the location of the new Ajuga fire-resistant structure to ensure that it is deployed in an area where it will have the greatest impact.
“This structure will provide the children of Gugulethu’s “Europe” settlement with a much-needed facility to ensure optimal ECD, but most importantly to provide these youngsters with a home away from home.”
He explains that this project serves to implement effective ECD at grass-root level in communities andthat the solution can serve to bridge the socio-economic gap in SA. “We call on and encourage corporate SA to join us in investing in the Ajuga project as a CSI initiative and we will welcome all involvement,” concludes Miller.
Visit www.ajuga.co.za for further information about this project.
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