Providing care, attention, and play to the most vulnerable of children around the world.
For every three months spent in institutionalized care, a child will lose one month of linear growth, in the absence of proper intervention.
The Granny Program provides this intervention by bringing loving caregivers, or “Grannies” from the local community to each child, every day.
Grannies are trained in child development and trauma-based care to help the children they work with overcome significant developmental delays, learn what it is to trust and love, and receive the attention and care they deserve.
Spence-Chapin currently runs the Granny Program in South Africa and Colombia, and it is able to operate through the generosity of our supporters.
Bringing the joy of play into children’s lives around the world.
In 2019, Spence-Chapin launched Project Play as a complement to the Granny Program to address the critical role of play in children’s lives. Due to a lack of vital resources, many orphanages around the world are not able to provide an area for children to engage in structured and unstructured play which is crucial in helping children reach developmental milestones.
Project Play builds outdoor playgrounds with state-of-the-art equipment and stations at children’s orphanages. It also supplies birthday and holiday gifts and celebrations for children who so often never receive recognition on these special days.
The initial relationship between a child and their primary caregiver is a strong predictor of a child’s emotional and physical health, and ability to develop strong attachments later in life. It is well recognized that due to a lack of resources, children living in institutionalized settings are often deprived of consistent, nurturing human interaction. This lack of interaction is correlated to risks of lifelong developmental delays and challenges with healthy attachment.
Spence-Chapin launched its original International Granny Program in 1998 to address this need.
The Granny Program brings volunteers from the community into children’s orphanages to devote time and attention to the same children each day. These little ones quickly begin to thrive thanks to the one-on-one attachment that children living in institutions usually do not experience.
The Granny Program and Project Play currently benefit children living in orphanages in South Africa and Colombia, with plans to open a program in Ghana in the upcoming year. More than 480 children are currently paired with Grannies, and the program continues to expand. Spence-Chapin is currently working to bring the program to more countries around the world.
Spence-Chapin works with international partners to train volunteer Grannies in child development, giving them the tools to provide individualized support to children living in orphanages.
The Granny Program is a simple, direct, and cost-effective way to forever change the lives of children in institutions around the world with proven results.
The sheer fact a child now has a trusted adult and attachment figure leads to startling improvements in development and attachment. Children who could not sit on their own are soon rolling over and crawling. Little ones who were previously withdrawn emotionally now raise their arms to be picked up when their Grannies arrive for the day.
Spence-Chapin has implemented Project Play in the four orphanages where The Granny Program currently operates in South Africa. Project Play provides children with much-needed playspace to engage in sensory, creative, active, and group play and provides annual holiday and birthday celebrations and gifts for children at the orphanages.
Since Project Play began in 2019, hundreds of children have celebrated their birthdays and the holidays who previously had not. In 2022, Spence-Chapin also launched Step Up in South Africa and Colombia, which has children select a brand new pair of sneakers every school year, empowering them with agency, confidence, and pride.
See the impact of the Granny Program on the lives of those it serves.