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  • Writer's pictureLesley Sykes

Impact Travel with beCuriou and Project Playground

Thando* is 4 years old. He joined Project Playground at the beginning of 2021 when a new nursery, called Below 7, opened in the Gugulethu Township (an informal settlement) centre in Cape Town, South Africa. This is an extension of the 10 years of child and youth work that Project Playground has been involved in Cape Town. Project Playground provides a safe care centre space for underserved children from 4 years to 18 years old.

The Below 7 nursery focuses on holistic foundation phase learning. At most children’s organisations, especially in the townships, a child’s daily attitude would be the only indication of how life was for Thando outside of class. At Project Playground, every child like Thando receives two home visits by their facilitator to understand the child holistically and, for the foundation phase classes, an assessment by the in-house occupational therapist to determine if their development is on-track.

It quickly became obvious to the Project Playground staff that Thando had developmental challenges from a profound lack of engagement, poor nutrition, parental addiction and underdeveloped language skills that could affect his learning for the rest of his life. Yet, now, he is not alone. Project Playground’s occupational therapist conducted assessments and identified that he more than likely did not have any access to toys to interact with and so was significantly delayed in his development of proprioception (knowing where his body is in space) — a key skill to engage in one’s environment and necessary in everyday actions like writing, eating with a utensil, or even stepping over something when walking. Once the first home visit took place all of the above was confirmed.

It is through the significant and hugely progressive work at Project Playground that children like Thando are not left behind, not cast aside or not given the opportunities that they require to grow and thrive in societies that have a significant lack in such structures. To better serve children like Thando, Project Playground offers proven models of child development and learning that secure the rights of children in Langa and Gugulethu Townships to access quality education and the necessary resources and support needed to obtain knowledge and become well-rounded and economically contributing members of society.

beCuriou is a very proud supporter of Project Playground and its innovative, positive and committed work in both South Africa and Sweden. We feel compelled to tell these stories about children such as Thando to our clients. We give them the chance to support this work, share the story and to take the opportunity to add hugely memorable and significant elements to their travels to places such as Cape Town, by meeting the incredible people behind this organisation. Through our Impact Travel partnerships, beCuriou commits to supporting, storytelling and creating profound experiences and unforgettable memories for our clients. Book your trip to Cape Town and allow us to introduce you to this phenomenal organisation.

We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate one of the co-founders of Project Playground, Princess Sofia of Sweden and her husband Prince Carl-Philip on the recent Baptism of their 3rd son Prince Julian.

*Child’s name has been changed for anonymity


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