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Rotary and Knysna Education Trust working together to ensure ‘No Child is Left Behind’

Knysna Education Trust (KET), a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) located in the Garden Route town of Knysna has been providing essential support services to the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector since 1993. Our comprehensive support model addresses ECD sector challenges, ensuring that preschool children reach age appropriate developmental milestones in key areas namely, cognitive, emotional and physical.

Our goal is for all preschool children in our service region to have easy access to our multi-model method of ECD service delivery, which aims to provide quality education and upliftment of communities through micro social enterprise activities. These micro enterprises provide income generating opportunities, empowering mainly black women and youth to provide quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes to our local communities.

KET focuses on preschool education from conception to 6 years old. This very short window of opportunity is critical for determining a child’s readiness for school and affects their ability to thrive later in life. This is a time that is very difficult and costly to “make up” at a later stage in the formal schooling.

We are a NPO that largely relies on the generosity of local, national and international individuals, businesses, corporates and Foundations. By collaborating with key local NGOs KET is working towards developing a ‘Cradle to Career’ education solution for Knysna. 

KET first began working with Rotary through The Rotary Anns,  as well as via a couple of the Interact Clubs that sponsored  learners to attend ECD facilities in the early 2000’s. 

Lesley Satchel, a Rotarian and the then principal of Stepping Stones, advocated to the then Rotary President Des Wearne, that the Knysna Education Trust was a reliable organisation to work with. The collaborative relationship to address ECD challenges and local community issues grew from there. Rotary has since awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Award to KET Trustees Gillian Carter, Elizabeth Koti, Richard Sohn and Lesley Satchel in recognition of their community work. Recently long time Trustee Gill Mathiesen received the same award for her helpful work after the Knysna Fires

Over the years this highly valued and enduring relationship has ensured that KET has been able to fulfill its vision of:

Ensuring all young children thrive through quality Early Childhood Development programmes, competent teachers and caregivers, in safe, healthy and enriched learning environments.

A multitude of programmes and substantial projects have been delivered over the years, including;

  • renovating the 4 worst preschools during one year;
  • regular sponsoring of ECD FET Student teacher bursaries;
  • a matching grant, paying for mother-tongue picture books for KET preschools;
  • subsidising lunches at Wonderland Preschool for three years;
  • Knysna and 5 Canadian clubs in the Toronto area, working by means of a global grant, to renovate and equip donated buildings in Khayalethu, thereby establishing The Learning Tree, a functioning preschool and practical teacher-training facility for KET.

These completed practical projects have helped create significant positive change in the ECD sector in Knysna. Together with valuable partners like Rotary Knysna, KET aims to address local ECD challenges, creating access to ECD services irrespective of where a child lives. KET intends, with the support of Rotary, to roll out its multi-model ECD programme delivery system to ensure ‘no child is left behind’.