FOR the past 25 years, the Little Elephant Training Centre for Early Education (Letcee) has brought hope and improvement to the quality of life of thousands of children and adults. In 1993, two years after the Little Elephant Pre-primary School was established, it became evident that there was a great need for trained pre-primary teachers. So in January 1993, Letcee start its life-changing programme for many, training mainly rural women, in Early Childhood Development (ECD) skills.Since the first six trainees, Letcee, as a registered NPO, has trained more than 250 women each year. Its approach is holistic — ECD cannot exist on its own but must be linked to the family and community working in partnership with the community in decision-making, projects, etc. This ECD model was acclaimed as a “model of excellence” by Unicef in 2009.Umzinyathi, which is the area in which Letcee works, has been identified by the SA Index of Multiple Deprivation as the third most deprived area in South Africa.In achieving its mission to create nurturing environments for the children and families, Letcee has 166 community play facilitators in the various rural areas covered. These well-trained volunteers now reach out to bring ECD to 2 000 children who otherwise would not receive any stimulus.They carry out home visits, run toy libraries, youth and homework clubs and so more.Unemployed rural women have also benefitted from the incredible scope of Letcee activities. It provides a nationally recognised further Education and Training Certificate in ECD level four. At present, there are 252 registered students. Two major problems are addressed by this, which are a lack of ECD services and high unemployment rates. Letcee has, since its beginnings 25 years ago, worked closely with traditional leadership and various structures in the communities, remaining committed to develop these communities through the empowerment of individual members. This leads to learning management skills, which in turn build up confidence and the ability to develop income-generating activities. Letcee’s impact on thousands of young and adults, is outstanding as it has improved their quality of life and ability to help themselves.