To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.

Carlos María Domínguez

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Words cannot express how grateful we are to Felicia Mlanjana from Peregrine Holdings Ltd, for allowing her dream of creating a library at Philile Diepsloot to become a reality. Felicia has had a long time dream to create a tranquil space for the children at Philile Diepsloot to be able to sit and explore the wonderful world of pirates, princesses, warriors, hero’s, lions, tigers, kings and queens.

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Over the course of a week, a dusty storeroom was magically transformed into a peaceful reading space by the masterful work of Venus and the M Squared construction team. A dry wall was installed, windowsills made, walls and roof painted, carpeting laid and shelves assembled.

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James Heckman, Nobel laureate in economics in 2000 and a professor at the University of Chicago makes the case for early childhood intervention –

“There are many reasons why investing in disadvantaged young children has a high economic return. Early interventions … promote schooling, raise the quality of the work force, enhance the productivity of schools, and reduce crime, teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency. They raise earnings and promote social attachment. Focusing solely on earnings gains, returns to dollars invested are as high as 15% to 17%. …

Adverse early environments are powerful predictors of adult failure on several social and economic dimensions. … Experimental interventions that enrich early childhood environments … produce more successful adults by raising both cognitive and noncognitive skills. At current levels of spending, early interventions targeted toward disadvantaged children have much higher economic returns than later interventions, such as reduced pupil-teacher ratios, public job training, convict rehabilitation programs, tuition subsidies or expenditure on police.

Many politicians and citizens place their faith in adolescent and young-adult remediation programs. … However, the track records of criminal rehabilitation programs, adult literacy programs and public job-training programs are poor. … Studies … show that later compensation for deficient early family environments is very costly. … If society waits too long to compensate for the accident of birth, it is economically inefficient to invest in the skills of the disadvantaged. A serious trade-off exists between equity and efficiency for … adolescents and young adults. There is no such trade-off for policies targeted toward disadvantaged young children.’

Source: http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/01/heckman_investi.html

Peregrine is a leading financial services group providing individuals and institutions with investment management solutions in wealth and alternative assets.

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Peregrine is committed to advancing local communities through socio-economic development and empowerment programs with a long-term and sustainable focus. The group has a long-term strategy to empower communities and employees through its empowerment vehicle, Nala and the three underlying trusts: the Peregrine Educational Trust, the Peregrine Community Development Trust and the Employee Portfolio Investment Trust. The group also contributes to the Citadel Philanthropy Fund (CPF), which received focus and sponsorship during the year. The aim of the CPF has been to create a platform for donor advised funding of community projects.

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Thank you Felicia for this wonderful initiative which has helped to create, in the words of Violet, one of our teachers a “small piece of heaven on earth”. We are deeply grateful for organisations like Peregrine Holdings who partner with us to build a better South Africa for all!

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