We asked ourselves a fundamental question: what if we could ensure that all babies had early mind, body and emotional development, could we change their world?
Thula Baba encourages mothers who live in challenging communities, that face the ravages of gangsterism, to understand the importance of early childhood experiences.
The Thula Baba bucket is an incentive we offer to encourage new mothers to complete an 8-week course (prenatal and postnatal) during which they learn the importance of:
- Love (Attachment and Bonding)
- Play (Early Childhood Development)
- Food (Nutrition)
and how they contribute to the full development of a human being.
Attachment and bonding are vital to the growing human. Don Pinnock a criminologist based in Cape Town published a landmark book Gang Town in which he describes the cycle of violence in the gang-affected areas.
This theory suggests that toxic environments impart a propensity toward violence in children raised in them. If early attachment and bonding with a parent figure fail, then such children battle to develop empathy as adults.
Violent environments encourage self-preservation at the cost of the ability to empathise with other people.
By teaching mothers the importance of attachment and bonding, we can break the cycle of violence.
We do this by teaching how vital skin to skin contact is for the newborn. Parents are also provided with a baby wrap and taught how to wear the baby, which increases the proximity of the child to the mother. By wearing the baby close, the baby develops a sense of security and trust which sets them up for their journey to adulthood.
Good early attachment experiences increase the development of emotional intelligence and reduce issues around trust. People with greater emotional stability are less likely to be drawn into criminal activity and to become contributing members of society.
The mental stimulation during early childhood development includes play, song, talking, reading, and sensory stimulation.
The Baba Bucket provides books and toys to encourage sensory development. Such items give the family a focus to work with to explore play.
Early childhood development theory suggests that with well-developed play, children are more likely to be school ready and, therefore, see improved educational outcomes. With better educational success this eventually results in greater career potential, which of course contributes to a healthy economy.
Good nutrition for a baby means being breastfed for their first 6 months. A second important element is a daily source of protein after the first 6 months. Good nutrition increases health prospects of the child ensuring (amongst other outcomes) more regular school attendance.
Well-nourished children are 33% more likely to escape poverty as adults (World Health Report 2017).
To assist mums with baby care, the Baba Bucket provides anti-bacterial soap and mums are taught the importance of good hand washing. Other basic safety principles for child care are also taught.