ELRU COVID-19 Food Emergency Fund

Food security and essential nutrition for young children and vulnerable families in need

Click here to make a tax deductable donation

Please support our Food Emergency Fund. Donate by EFT or via GivenGain. All money is used to provide urgent nutrition for ELRU beneficiaries throughout the Western Cape. A Section 18A Tax Receipt is issued on request.


Please support our Food Emergency Fund

When the COVID-19 lockdown began, ELRU’s focus turned to disaster relief, and providing nutrition, food security and hygiene support for all our vulnerable beneficiaries.

Just R2.90 provides a filling meal from Rise Against Hunger that contains sufficient nutrients for an entire day!

Our goal: to distribute 1 000 000 meals plus sanitisers and masks where most needed.

Please Donate

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.

Access to quality ECD services for all vulnerable children

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 needs 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 young 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 facilitating access to an 'Essential Package' of services for ECD support which includes 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 caregivers and children age 0-6 who do not have access to ECD.

Training, capacity building and resource provision

Training, mentoring, materials development and studies guide our work, while being 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 attending ECD Centres receive quality care and services, and that all practitioners are capacitated to deliver optimal
learning programmes.


ELRU on SABC 3's Expresso Morning Show

We are super-proud of ELRU Director, Tracy van der Heyde, for shining on the Expresso Morning Show (SABC 3). Tracy was interviewed by presenter, Graeme Richards, about the need for child nutrition during the critical window period of development from age 0-6.

Click here to watch

COVID-19 Food Emergency Fund

Since April, ELRU’s focus has turned to disaster relief, providing critical nutrition and hygiene support to our vulnerable beneficiaries. All money raised is used to purchase meals from Rise Against Hunger which provides a child with enough nutrients for an entire day. All contributions are tax deductible.

Please donate

Join the 100Club

ELRU invites you to join our 100Club! The idea is for friends and supporters of ELRU to donate R100 — or more if you can afford to give more.  This money will be used towards our COVID-19 Food Emergency Fund and Sanitation Fund. Every contribution counts, big or small.

Join now

Donor Benefits

Tax relief: We can provide you with an Section 18A tax certificate for your contribution, on request. To receive this, please email proof of payment with your post aladdress to carolyn@elru.co.za.

Earn B-BBEE points: All contributors fulfill the definition of ‘Qualifying Socio-Economic Development Contributions’ in term of the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice, and therefore count 100% towards a contributor’s B-BBEE scorecard.

Secure Monthly Giving or Credit Card Donations

Donate via GivenGain

Electronic Funds Transfer

Donate now!

Thank you to all our Partners in Development

Nutrition Partners

Our Annual Reports

Early Learning Resources

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ELRU book store

Home visiting and
parental support

view resources

ECD centre registration

view resources

Re-opening after
covid 19

view resources

ECD Programme implementation resources

view resources

Training resources

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research papers and learning briefs

view resources

Learning and stimulation activities by age and

view resources

ECD centre registration info and Standard Operating Procedures

Click here for resources

Learning and stimulation activities by age and stage

Click here for resources

Steps for Registration

Click here for resources

Cape Educational Trust t/a Early Learning Resource Unit
Standard Bank (Code 026209)
Business Cheque Account No: 072896604
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ (international donors)

Preferred references:
Food Emergency Fund OR Sanitation Fund

Get in Touch

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