Our Story

Where Ntataise comes from

Ntataise was founded by Jane Evans, on a farm just outside a tiny rural village called Viljoenskroon. At the time she was a farmer’s wife with young children of her own. Concerned with the lack of early learning opportunities for young children of farm workers, Jane started a small crèche on the farm.

As more and more children began attending the crèche and others in the wider farming community heard what Jane was doing, demand grew. The challenge in those early days was not only the lack of ECD programmes for young children growing up in rural farming communities, but also the absence of any trained black early childhood teachers. Jane employed a trainer who began training community women to become pre-school practitioners (informal teachers).

Eventually this modest model grew to include similar programmes on other farms in South Africa at the time. With the demand for Ntataise’s materials and programmes increasing, Ntataise encouraged all the farm programmes to themselves become registered and independent and responsible for their own fundraising. This eventually became the Ntataise Network that today comprises 21 NGOs across seven of South Africa’s nine provinces.

Through its programmes Ntataise has empowered thousands of women who in turn have reached millions of children in some of South Africa’s most marginalised communities. These programmes have had a considerable influence in South Africa and significantly improved the standard and quality of learning programmes offered to young children.

A Path Unexpected - A Memoir by Jane Evans

In A Path Unexpected, Evans shares her life, working as a journalist in the big city, then moving to the small town of Viljoenskroon in the northern Free State with her husband, Anthony Evans, a well-known and respected businessman and farmer.

It is here that she created her non-profit organisation to provide education and training for the wives and children of farm labourers during the height of apartheid. Her profound influence on these families labels her as an activist for her early childhood development (ECD) and adult teaching advocacy in rural communities.

This memoir is about family, love, loss, finding purpose and dedicating oneself to a life of service.