ASAP is inspired by South Africa's first black and first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, who often said, "South Africa has three priorities: education, education, education.... Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
What is Adopt a South African Preschool's mission? ASAP funds the training and resources for preschool education, enabling South African children below the poverty line to succeed in school and in life.
Why are preschool resource centers necessary? A disproportionate number of preschool children in South Africa live below the poverty line in inner-city areas and segregated communities still struggling under the legacy of apartheid 30 years after the oppressive laws were ended.
Many of these children grow up in single-mother households, not knowing who their fathers are. Someone must look after the children while their mothers work, look for work, or beg.
Often, as many as 30 children sit in front of a TV all day in the apartment of a woman who has taken them in to earn money. No preschool education takes place in these “creches” since the caregiver has neither training nor the toys, puzzles, books, and games to stimulate cognitive, physical and social development. Because government funding for preschools is very limited and qualified teachers are rare in poor areas, few of these children will thrive in elementary school.
In fact, by fourth grade, 80% of children in communities like those we serve cannot comprehend what they read, and 40% cannot read at all, a deficit which is seldom overcome. Consequently, students drop out, become pregnant, remain unemployed, and often join gangs searching for self-esteem, power, diversion, and belonging.
ASAP honors Nelson Mandela's legacy by working to ensure that every child in South Africa is enriched by the joy and competence derived from learning through play.
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