A new forum which is aimed at helping early childhood development centres (ECD) and non-governmental organisations (NGO) in different communities was launched in Philippi.Masonwabe Forum, which works with ECDs and NGOs based in Philippi, Samora Machel, Nyanga and Gugulethu, was launched on Saturday 21 March at the Philippi Village.The forum’s chair Nokubonga Mepeni said the idea is to unite ECDs and NGOs under one umbrella. He said most ECDs currently work in silos and the forum is an ideal platform for sharing ideas around some of the challenges. The forum would also eliminate confusion and inconvenience for residents. “After seeing that we offer different skills to people that need help and can work well together we decided to start the forum,” she said.Mepeni said they work with NGOs and ECDs so they can get funding to help them to grow and offer each other advice. She said the response they received from the communities is amazing. She said most people see the value that the forum brings and add to their organisations.Andile Zizonke, of Imizamo Yethu Educare Centre in Marikana, said when they started they did not know what they wanted, but after joining the forum they got the help they needed to grow as the centre.“We did not know anything about having a business plan and zoning structures and policies but thanks to Masonwabe they gave us the help we needed,” he said.He said the forum also helped them get funding and they applied on their behalf and the money went straight into the account of the ECD.Nomandla Sikithi, of Sophumelela Educare Centre in Kanana informal settlement, said she was happy when she was introduced to the forum. She said she is hoping to get a lot of help the forum because there are a lot of things they do not have.She said they were promised that they will be helped and she can’t wait.