Join us to Pack

Our Rise Against Hunger packing event is now fully booked! Watch this space for our next meal packing event!

Join the packing line at ELRU’s Cape Town office, and help us make up meals for Rise Against Hunger beneficiaries. We look forward to seeing you at our next meal packing event! For queries contact Candice:


About us

ELRU is a non-governmental organisation primarily focused on improving the cognitive development and executive functioning skills of young children in order to increase their attendance and success at school and reduce intergenerational poverty.  Our programmes create circles of support around the child beginning at conception with particular care for vulnerable mothers, fathers and children.

We focus specially on: building the capacity of primary caregivers with a special focus on support to vulnerable mothers and fathers—building skills and supporting career advancements for early years practitioners and professionals­—supporting early nutrition —facilitating access to early learning, and activating collaborative partnerships to expand access to a full package of essential services. Our modes of delivery cut across the ages and stages of early development and include; home visiting, early learning playgroups and centre based support.

We recognise that for Programmes to be innovative and scalable, our systems need to be adaptable and unique. Our focus on systems building is to advance this transformation with the specific intention of increasing universal access of quality through service delivery and technology. Our communication and advocacy programme is based on the evidence generated through our interventions with a focus on creating demand for services in communities that need targeted interventions according to our population based approach.

We are human centred; we act and serve with empathy and respect. Children are the heart of our endeavor. We are bold and curious activists seeking innovation and excellence. We listen and listen again taking time to reflect and learn from mistakes, focused on ongoing improvement. We show gratitude, default to transparency and act with integrity. Collaboration is how we work, communicating openly, offering opportunity for growth and development.

We believe

We believe that ensuring the access of every child to the essential services and support they need from conception until they start school, is the best way of securing their wellbeing and learning success, and a prosperous future for our country.


Building tomorrow, today for every child.


Building tomorrow, today by facilitating better child outcomes for children in vulnerable communities through effective early intervention programmes.

We target children who are not in any ECD provision and deliver quality programmes

Home based

Our Family and Community Motivator(FCM) Programme is aimed at the 1st 1000 days (conception–2 years)  and ensures that the primary caregiver is supported and equipped with tools and skills to support the growth and development of young children.

Centre based

The Whole Centre Development Programme provides holistic support to community ECD centres. We help practitioners create optimal ECD environments that are safe and for delivery quality ECD programmes

Community based

The Playgroup Programme empowers caregivers and communities to extend quality ECD programmes to vulnerable children (3–5 years) who may not have access to formal ECD centre programmes.

The Essential Package

Studies show that investment in ECD is one of the most effective long-term strategies for alleviating poverty and achieving social and economic equality. ELRU recognises that young children begin life with great potential that can be maximised through early investment. By providing access to basic things such as love, food, play, positive parenting, health care, early learning and social support, children will survive and thrive. These combined elements make up an Essential Package of Services which is critical to the holistic development of children.

Why invest in ECD?

In South Africa, 6 out of 10 children are born into poverty. Poverty is associated with inadequate nutrition, sanitation and hygiene which lead to underdevelopment, increased infections and stunting in children. Poverty is also associated with poor maternal education, increased maternal stress and depression and inadequate stimulation in the home. These factors, if unaddressed, contribute to further poor health, poor preparation for school and consequent poor outcomes, lack of  readiness for the job market and perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Challenges in ECD

There are major challenges facing Early Childhood Development (ECD) in South Africa. The more significant of these is the lack of access to quality early learning programmes with gaps in infrastructure, practitioner training and qualification, nutrition, health services, ECD programming, Institutional capacity and funding. ECD centres remain the dominant form of provision and the system is blind to the majority of children who are outside of it.

Adopting a population based approach

The whole community is considered when determining the needs of a given area. Ultimately our goal is to achieve universal coverage i.e. that each child in a given community has access to quality ECD, via an ELRU programme or any other service provider. Our aim is to enable greater access and improve the quality of services and programmes available to children in poor communities, in order to ensure their optimal physical, emotional, social, intellectual, mental and spiritual development. We do this by enabling access to an Essential Package of Services i.e. early learning, health, nutrition, social services and support for the primary caregiver. We accomplish this through the following interventions:

Home and community based programmes to strengthen families

Our programmes promote nutrition, health, safety and hygiene, supportive parenting and cognitive stimulation in the home for those who do not have access to ECD.

Training, capacity building and resource provision

Training, mentoring, materials development and studies guide our work, and is shaped by ongoing monitoring and evaluation of not only the progress and development of the model but its impact on the holistic development of the child.

Centre based development and enrichment programme

Our programmes are aimed at ensuring that children at ECD Centres receive quality care and services, and that all practitioners are capacitated to deliver optimal learning programmes.

News and events

ELRU's 40th Birthday

ELRU is celebrating 40 years of service in Early Childhood Development

Contact us

Event coming soon

As the year 2018 draws closer to its end, we are growing more and more excited for what is to come in 2019. Watch this space for our upcoming events!

Chat to us

Our lines are open from 8:30 to 16:30 from Monday to Friday to assist with any queries or requests.

Contact us

Thank you to all our Partners in Development

Our Annual Reports

Our Resources

We’re not staff.
We’re family

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19 Flamingo Crescent, Lansdowne 7780 Cape Town South Africa
+27 (0)21 762 7500