During the early years of life, stimulating play activities give young children the best possible chance of reaching healthy brain development. Yet, millions of South African children in disadvantaged communities, particular those with disabilities, are deprived of these critical experiences.

Through our recycling journey, the unemployment situation of people with disabilities and their families and the plight of children living in poverty, the Clothes to Good 123 ECD project was born.

The objective of the Clothes to Good ECD project:

To re-affirm that people with disabilities are contributing members of society and to tackle this challenge by creating sustainable employment opportunities for people with disabilities through innovate use of recycled items to make a difference in the lives of children.

To produce affordable, high quality, educational toys (but also soft toys, mats and pencil bags), stimulating intellectual and physical development in children, including those living with disabilities, produced by an integrated team of able-bodied people and people with disabilities.

To create positive change in the field of early childhood development by (ECD) through toys reaching as many children, parents and educators as possible and collaborating with government and ECD services.

To recycle unusable clothes and other items for environmental and social impact.

To achieve multi-level impact, through a simple, structured project and teaching people inside (and outside) our organisation to have a do what you can with what you have attitude.

The product

The 123 ECD toolkit consists of 50 educational activities/resources made mostly from recyclable materials. These activities/resources were developed by an occupational and speech therapist and aim to stimulate and develop the following developmental areas:

  • Gross motor
  • Fine motor
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Perception
  • Speech and language and;
  • Social skills

These toolkits are provided to care-givers in informal ECD centres. An important part of this project involves training for care-givers in the form of a one day, hand-on training workshops with the following goals in mind:

  • Empowering care-givers with knowledge about the importance of stimulation in the early years of development and the different areas of development.

  • Training care-givers in how to use each of the 50 toys/resources within their daily programme.

  • Empowering caregivers with the skills to produce their own toys/resources from recyclable materials found in their communities through actively involving the children in their care as well as the community at large.

Care-givers are provided with an easy to read instructional manual which has been written as a on how to use each resource/activity.