#AfterSchoolHeroes – Maria Monama: Katlehong Early Learning Resource Unit

Under the leadership and guidance of Maria Monama, the Katlehong Early Learning Resource Unit (KELRU) runs its own ECD centres and play groups, established in 1991.

KELRU also provides accredited training to ECD practitioners working in these centres.

In 2016, they set up an after school programme in their community for primary school learners.

At the time, there were no other after school centres of any kind in Katlehong, and KELRU staff noticed large numbers of youth hanging around their ECD centres who could benefit from an after school programme.

This is Maria Monama’s story…

What inspires you the most or motivates you to thrive in your role?

My passion to work with children started in 1985 when my child was at Vosloorus Creche.

I looked at the way children were handled and fell in love with the profession. I volunteered to learn the skills on how to work with young children.

After one year I talked with parents in my neighbourhood who have children who were not attending the Creche so that I can work with them.

I started a Creche with 120 children and registered it and then attended training so I could know how children develop and learn, and about the stages of development.

I looked at my learners develop, grow and be ready for formal schooling, but the question was what would happen to them when they go to school and come home early when parents are still at work?

Who would help them with their home-work?

Because I love children, I wanted to see them graduate at the end.

SO, I decided to open an After-School programme to make sure that they were safe, healthy and responsible about their learning.

What motivates me the most to thrive in my role is seeing them grow to be responsible learners and adults.

Watching them attend their tutoring classes and do their homework without being pushed by tutors and realising I have inspired them to the point where they have taken ownership for their work. They pass their grades with flying colours and can comprehend what they are reading. The work I do keeps me feeling young.

What do you hope to achieve through the work that you do?

Through the work that I do I hope to achieve the following:

  • Children who are fully developed (emotionally, physically through play) and ready for formal schooling not just primary and high school but even tertiary
  • Make sure that children are taught in a safe environment while being fed healthy balanced meals every day for them to be able to concentrate at school and to build reading skills as the country is currently challenged (as most children are not comprehending what they are reading)
  • Learners who are happy and ready to face the world
  • Learners who are responsible and supportive to each other
  • Tutors who can assist learners and are passionate about their work and carry out the teachings even when they are not at work
  • My hopes for these children is that they become educated adults that will also give back to their communities once accomplished and pass on what they have learned to the next generation of children/students and by so doing creating families that work together to building better communities and a brighter future for all involved.

Katlehong Early Learning Resource Unit (KELRU) | Our Grantees