Minister Fernandez Speech: 2nd Harvest nutritional ECD event in Wellington
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed and honour and a privilege to be here at this occasion. I wish to thank 2nd Harvest, outside the bill and all other stakeholders for the opportunity to address you this evening.
2nd Harvest is a non-profit company based in Paarl. They support communities, ECD creches, NGO’s and existing Soup Kitchens in the winelands District by providing them with nutritionally balanced meals. They are actively trying to assist in eradicating hunger issues the community is facing. Their efforts will not reach maximum effect unless they have the backing of the entire community. Their long term vision is to feed the hungry by providing 50 000 meals a day. We all know that that that is virtually impossible, but by opening 10 distribution centres, 2nd harvest can reach their goal. Children do not receive consistent nutritious meals and learn on an empty stomach. In light of these children going hungry, 2nd Harvest have developed a nutritional smart breakfast for children, in order to sustain energy levels, increase productivity and brain development. They will also be manufacturing a peanut spread, a fruit spread and a cheese spread at this facility. They will also be manufacturing a peanut spread, a fruit spread and a cheese spread at this facility. I have also been made aware that they have installed a bakery and will bake 1000 breads per day which will be sent out to communities across the province. The work completed by organizations such as second harvest cannot be understated as they are providing essential services for the individuals who matter most in our society.
In today’s tough economic climate, we are witnessing far higher incidences of hunger and poverty especially amongst the most vulnerable in our society. It has become increasingly understood that early childhood development is an important aspect of human development as it serves as an important driver of economic welfare and poverty reduction in particular. The right nutrition during the early childhood development phases can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to learn.
This year, the Western Cape Department of Social Development has highlighted the importance of child services, not only in light of tonight’s event but also as we commemorate Tata Madiba tomorrow in celebration of Mandela Day. Nelson Mandela fought valiantly to improve the lives of children, not only in South Africa, but around the globe. In the worlds of our great former President of South Africa, “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth who care for and protect our people (3 June 1995)”.
In memory of Madiba’s love for children, Minister Fernandez would like to use this day as an opportunity to remind the people of our Province, that we remain committed to providing quality Early Childhood Development services including to ensure that our children, are provided the necessary cognitive and emotional development to be proactive citizens one day. We need a whole of society approach, to facilitate a nurturing, caring and safe environment for children not only to survive, but be physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally secure, socially competent and be able to learn.
In conclusion, I wish to remind everyone present here today of an important point that:
From the time the baby is in the mother’s womb, and through their early childhood, their environment and the relationships they have with parents, caregivers and other adults, have a significant impact on their development – socially, cognitively and emotionally. I want to urge parents to find out more about how they can help their children to prepare for school, and to make as much time as possible to read to and play educational games with their children. While this government is committed to doing everything possible to increase the quality and reach of ECD, we need parents, guardians and caregivers to help us to turn this province –and this country – into an international success story. Through this partnership, we can make our children’s lives better together.
Let’s join hands and applaud this amazing initiative by 2nd harvest to bring the change our most valuable assets, our children.
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 083 661 4949
Private Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000
14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001