The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, it is said, sets the stage for all future growth. When children receive the “eat, play, and love” their brains need to develop, they are more likely to grow up as healthy, productive adults who contribute significantly to their families and communities.
But there are often many barriers to early childhood development. Income, gender, and a lack of access and community support can stop many children from reaching their full human potential.
We spoke with Amina Mwitu, program director of the Madrasa Early Childhood Program, about the importance of early childhood development.
Amina Mwitu knows about barriers to education first hand. “My father managed to finish primary school, but because they were so poor, he could not go to secondary school. My mother dropped out when she was in primary six.” Despite all odds, her parents encouraged all seven of their children to complete their education. Amina became the first in her family and community to graduate university.
She then joined the Madrasa Program, in 1998. “For me, [the program] presented that platform where I can actually engage with parents, work directly with the teachers, and work directly with the children. In my own local community, I’ve become a role model, somebody available to answer their questions. I’ve been able to prove to them that education does not change who you are, but rather opens your mind to all possibilities.”
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