StarBright Learning Exchange aims to support the early childhood community in the township of Vrygrond, located in Cape Town, South Africa. To achieve this we plan to build on the relationships already established with this community alongside our partners True North. (www.true-north.co.za) So far we have successfully implemented two exchange programs where Early Childhood Educators visited Vrygrond to establish and develop relationships with the local community of educators and the children in their care. We also funded a mentoring program where two South African teachers visited Australia and spent four weeks at The University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre.

The StarBright Learning Exchange raises funds to support the development of these programs to cover the following:

  • Airfares
  • Accommodation, food and hire car
  • Insurance
  • Program coordination

Please note – South African exchange participants are not required to outlay any financial contribution. Their exchange program is fully funded.

Time spent on exchange is in a volunteer capacity – participants may seek financial support from their employers or private sponsorship for wages during this time. Past particpants have used their annual, teachers, long service leave or volunteered independently during these times.

There is an expectation that participants contribute financially to the exchange. In the past this has been achieved through private fundraising events leading up to departure.

StarBright supports participants by:

  • providing training and counseling before and after each exchange.
  • supporting Australians while overseas, and African exchange participants whilst in Australia.
  • helping to develop and implement marketing and fundraising activities.

The Strategy

StarBright has successfully implemented two very different exchange programs to date. The nature of a future exchange may differ depending on the skills of participants and how the organization evolves.

  • Early childhood staff may spend a negotiated period of time in a selected children’s centre in South Africa or with one of our partners.
  • Early childhood staff may implement their own negotiated program in partnership with True North.
  • South African teachers may travel to Australia to participate in a mentoring program at The University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre
  • South African teachers may travel to Australia to participate in a mentoring program as developed by the StarBright Learning Exchange
  • StarBright Learning Exchange may develop a network for people and organisations to “adopt” a centre in Vrygrond and continue to send them equipment and resources such as books, puzzles and other early childhood toys and equipment.

Implementation

  • A key objective is to assist with the building of a self-sufficient program by providing ideas and resources to the existing staff.
  • A careful selection process would be undertaken to ensure that those people nominating to work in Africa would have the skills, resources and empathy to effectively work with another cultural group in a different country.
  • Participants would be involved in an orientation program to help to understand the context of the environment in South Africa.
  • Similarly, African staff would undertake an orientation program before coming to work in Australia.
  • A research project related to the work StarBright is undertaking is developed.
  • Early Childhood Development aspects of program is documented
  • This project will be managed by the StarBright Committee of

Management (volunteers) and the Program Manager, Rachel Riley

Funding

  • We will be seeking pro bono support and sponsorship from a number of larger Corporations and Philanthropic Trusts.
  • We are working towards Tax Deductibility status (DGR)
  • We will hold fundraising events to raise money for and awareness of StarBright’s work.

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