“A child with at least one responsive and stimulating caregiver grows up to be more resilient, achieves better at school, is healthier and has better life chances.”

The Mikhulu Child Development Trust supports parents to create nurturing, responsive and stimulating relationships with their young children (under the age of six). Our goal is to help parents and caregivers throughout their parenting journey so that they can meaningfully bond with their children in a way that improves their children’s development and well-being.

What we offer to parents:

  • Introduction to Book-sharing at clinics and libraries,
  • Book-sharing training courses with local NPOs,
  • The provision of wordless picture-books and
  • Holistic support on parenting challenges through the cell-phone based programme, ‘Parenthood SA.’

Introduction to Book-sharing at clinics and libraries

The Western Cape Department of Health (WDOH) runs the First Thousand Days (FTD) programme for pregnant mothers and those who have children under the age of two. Throughout the FTD, these mothers visit clinics for check-ups at set intervals and receive home visits from community-health workers.

The WDOH has also started integrating elements of parental support on early stimulation as part of the FTD programme. During home visits, community health-workers introduce mothers to concepts of early stimulation and book-sharing. This serves as an introduction only – and mothers learn, at a high level, how to be more reciprocal with their babies. They also learn about the benefits of early stimulation and learn skills on how to use wordless picture-books to do book-sharing with.

If you live in the Western Cape and you are pregnant or have a child under the age of two, ask your local clinic or home visitor about book-sharing.

Once community-health workers introduce FTD mothers to book-sharing, they can also refer those mothers to their local libraries to attend a more intensive book-sharing course. You can find a list of libraries offering book-sharing courses here.

These local libraries do not only offer the book-sharing courses to FTD mothers. Any caregivers of young children can sign up to join the book-sharing course. To find out more about what the course offers, and how it is structured, you can read more here.

The work with the clinics and libraries is a start at creating a community response for supporting parents and caregivers of young children. The intention is to identify spaces in society that serve parents of young children and we have started with the clinics and libraries. As the programme expands, we will expand the book-sharing introduction course to other social services offered to families.

Book-sharing training courses with local NPOs

Mikhulu Trust offers a more intensive training course to caregivers who want to learn the full book-sharing skillset that can be used with their young children. We offer this course to parents through community-based NPOs located across four provinces in South Africa.

There are three versions of the programme, according to the child’s age:

  • Book-sharing for Babies, for families of children aged 1 – 2,
  • Book-sharing for Toddlers, for families of children aged 2 – 3 and
  • Book-sharing for Young Children, for families of children aged 3 – 5.
Click here for a list of NPOs, locations and book-sharing programmes offered to Parents.

Wordless picture books

Mikhulu Trust develops and publishes our own wordless picture books. Designed and written by child psychologists, the books prompt rich discussions between adults and their young children, enabling age-appropriate cognitive and socio-emotional development. The books are illustrated by local illustrators and depict scenes relevant to South African contexts. Since the books are owned by Mikhulu Trust, we can sell these books at a low cost.

Please click here for books relevant to your child’s age and development stage.

In addition to our existing set of books, we are developing a new series of books addressing risk factors for the development of violent behaviour. Violent behaviour in adolescence starts in early childhood, and certain book-sharing activities in children’s early years can help to reduce their risks of developing violent or aggressive behaviours.

We would love your feedback!

Comment about your favourite books or share stories about your child’s interaction with the books

If you have any ideas for new books that are relevant to you and your community, please contribute to our “book ideas” page.

Your feedback here
Book ideas here

Parenthood SA

Parents need ongoing support in their parenting journey on a range of different topics. Parenthood SA is a WhatsApp-based support service that parents can access at any time. The platform was developed with the parent in mind and intends to provide information, guidance, resources and referrals on parents’ challenges and frustrations.

You can access Parenthood SA by starting a conversation in WhatsApp to this cell-phone number. Alternatively, take a photo of the QR code below, and a WhatsApp conversation will be started for you. If you do not have WhatsApp, try to use a friend or relative’s phone to access the service – we will consider expanding the service to USSD if we see that there is a demand for it.

Community-based Facilitators
Illustrators and Writers