Educational NGO, Read to Rise, and leading hygiene services firm, Bidvest Steiner, recently visited Karabo Primary School in Naledi to view a recently-installed mini-library. Made possible with the support of Bidvest Steiner, the library aims to encourage a culture of reading amongst Karabo learners.
“Our country is faced with a myriad of challenges that might be better solved with the broad knowledge made possible by extensive reading. The printed word remains the key to a better life and it is our sincere hope that we have made a positive difference in Naledi,” said Rika Van Rooyen of Bidvest Steiner.
Learners are not reading enough and this stunts their ability to learn. While learners in Grades 1 to 2 should be reading forty to fifty books per year, many learners in disadvantaged and under-resourced South African schools are only reading one to two books per year. That’s according to Athol Williams, co-founder and executive director of Read to Rise, who says that learners are not reading for the simple reason that they do not have access to books.
“Ready access to quality books is an important first step towards encouraging a love of reading amongst learners,” he explains. “Read to Rise depends on the support of caring corporations such as Bidvest Steiner to help us roll out our much-needed mini-libraries within selected disadvantaged schools,” he says.
To date, Read to Rise has placed a whopping 88 mini-libraries in school classrooms, totalling over 13 122 new books. In addition, some 8 722 learners have received “Oaky and the Sun” inspirational books aimed at nurturing their love of reading.
The contribution of sponsors means each Read to Rise mini-library located in each Grade 3 classroom of identified schools can be stocked with 50 new books that are not simply textbooks nor old unwanted books. Each book is carefully selected by qualified teachers who understand what children are most likely to read and enjoy.
The mini-library specifically includes a mix of languages – including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and others – to reflect the home languages of the children. In a further social benefit for the surrounding community, the bookshelves are manufactured by disabled Mitchell’s Plain residents.