At The Small Things, we believe poverty alone isn’t an acceptable reason for a child to be in an orphanage, but to desperate parents, it can seem like the only option. How can a child attend school when there’s no money for school clothes and books? How can a single mother hope to start a small business when all of her energy goes toward caring for her young child? All too often, these seemingly hopeless situations lead to the difficult decision to place a child in an orphanage, where they may feel their child has a better chance at an education and a future.
But these situations don’t have to be hopeless. Children thrive when their families and communities do too, and our programs aim to remove barriers to keeping children in their home where they can thrive with a loving family.,
Daycare and Preschool
For struggling families – and single mothers in particular – the lack of affordable childcare can cause a spiral into poverty. Without a safe place for their child to go during the day, they are unable to work, and provide a much-needed income for the family. The David Center – our daycare and preschool – provides a safe space and high quality pre-primary education for young children in the area from 6 months old through to school enrollment. With a range of rates – from subsidised scholarships for struggling families through to full cost payments for those who can afford it – the David Center is accessible to all families in the community.
Village Community Bank
The VICOBA (Village Community Bank) project provides ongoing access to affordable loans, and allows individuals to build their savings. Small groups of community members pool their savings and take turns withdrawing loans, which are repaid at a low interest rate. TST currently has 15 VICOBA groups, serving more than 300 clients with 650 minor children. These types of microfinance programs encourage investment and long-term business planning, and have allowed many families within the community to thrive.
Library and Tutoring
TST’s community library and weekend tutoring programs make education accessible to everyone. We serve approximately 200 students each week. providing age-appropriate curriculum and experience enriching “extras” such as debate, computer, and art classes. We’ve also launched a circulation system at our library, so all students have unlimited access to books!
Our vocational jewelry studio was born out of the need to support teenagers and young adults who were not able to complete their secondary education. At the studio, we provide training in entrepreneurship, metalsmithing and beadwork. As well as learning a marketable skill and developing their creativity, our studio students receive training and support in turning their new skills into a profitable business. We have successfully trained more than 50 students, with about 15 currently working toward graduation.