BTC Outreach Project
According to www.thelancet.com new estimates, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty, indicate that 250 million children (43%) younger than five years in low-income and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential. As such, BTC endeavours to share ECI therapy free of charge with those in disadvantaged communities who have no other access to the benefits of early developmental therapy for their babies. Early intervention on the young developing brain has a high impact on the development of learning skills needed for cognitive function in education, including mathematics and science.
All our Outreach screening, therapy and training sessions are conducted free of charge.
The babies at PoPuP Kids project are developmentally delayed due to environmental circumstances, although a small percentage also have disabilities or conditions such as Autism or Downs Syndrome. For this group, a Speech-Language Therapist gives attention to speech and language development. A Music Therapist attends to psycho-social and emotional aspects of impacting development. For these children, the chances are great that they can eventually reach their full potential emotionally, intellectually and academically, if we can lay down the right skills development at the earliest possible time. The BTC Therapists also offer teacher training to help facilitators enhance and improve their skills to offer an optimal early learning experience for each child.
Mooiplaas is an informal settlement in Centurion which has been built on a rubbish dump and is home to approximately 20 000 people. The majority of the residents are undocumented and there are no resources such as electricity, running water, police stations, clinics or schools.
Every Wednesday a group of dedicated doctors and nurses run a voluntary, paediatric medical clinic out of a classroom in a preschool within the settlement. The clinic is well attended and can at times see up to a hundred children per day.
BTC has joined this team of doctors and nurses to provide a developmental screening and therapy service to the children of the community.
In our efforts to continuously evaluate our services, we realised that by only focusing on the children, we were neglecting a vast majority of the population. We then included the training of mothers, teachers at the preschool as well as the community healthcare workers – with the aim of reaching into the community. We facilitated the training of mothers, teachers and healthcare workers and educated them on typical development patterns, the importance of play and literacy.
We did this by facilitating workshops on toy making as well as by demonstration. The mothers, teachers and healthcare workers were included in the problem-solving discussions, and their opinions encouraged so that effective learning could take place. By continuing to train each new parent that we see, we are anticipating that they will pass on the information to the community and will focus the attention on the importance of investing in the development of children.
Tshwane Haven is a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) that takes in abandoned, abused, sick and orphaned, babies until they are stable or well enough to be placed with a loving family or in more permanent housing. The Centre houses several children with medical conditions which required intensive medical and therapeutic interventions.
The BTC team visit Tshwane Haven on a weekly basis to offer their knowledge and skills in early childhood intervention through:
- Group therapy sessions with the babies and toddlers aimed at facilitating age-appropriate social and play participation.
- Individual therapy sessions with the babies and toddlers aimed at addressing child-specific developmental difficulties or delays.
- Caregiver education and training to enable the caregiver to facilitate the development of the children on a day to day basis.