Toufeeq Thomas

Programme Manager, Centre for Early Childhood Development

It's strange how destiny works. Growing up on the Cape Flats, experiencing the impact of gangsterism and drugs, Toufeeq Thomas planned "to stop complaining and do something about it� by becoming a lawyer. But as fate would have it Thomas ended up in a programme that would form part of a nationwide audit of early childhood development (ECD) centres. At 25, Thomas has initiated and coordinated the first ECD projects in South Africa and coordinated two national ECD programmes that impact more than 30 000 children in underprivileged communities. Having worked in the field as well as in academic institutions, Thomas strongly supports the view that 80% of early child development starts at home. Now, if only he can create a sustainable model that focuses on education and skills development, he will be halfway to realising his dream of ensuring quality care and education for the country's most vulnerable citizens. � Cat Pritchard

Lunch spot:Any Halaal restaurant in South Africa