The Foundation partnered with Read to Rise, an organisation focused on youth literacy, to donate new and pre-loved books to learners from vulnerable communities.
Impilo Collection Foundation kicked off its first Reading Buddies distribution drive for 2021 on Friday the 14th of May, donating a total of 208 books to learners at Takane Academy in Randburg and Nokhuphila Primary School in Midrand.
Caroline Libongani-Ngwenya, founder and principal of the home-schooling academy, Takane Academy, educates and feeds over 150 learners, in her former home that she gave up for the learners.
“A lot of our children come from homes where they are not fed properly let alone educated. Our mission is to ensure that all the children that walk through our doors are correctly taken care of and get a real chance at quality education,” Libongani-Ngwenya explained during the distribution drive.
Ambassadors of the foundation interacted with the teachers and learners, going into each classroom to read and interact with learners on a one-on-one basis, unpacking several stories and discussions around the importance of reading. The school also received a donation of class equipment and educational toys for the children.
“This day is all about developing and building upon a love of reading in children. By donating pre-loved books with amazing stories as well as brand new OAKY books, we hope to give learners ownership of their reading journey,” said Jasmine Black, ambassador for Impilo Collection Foundation’s Reading Buddies Project.
The principal at Nokhuphila Primary School, Themba Themba, said he is proud of his school as learners work hard and are always looking to out-perform themselves despite their circumstances.
“Everyone in our school takes pride in our performance, how we present ourselves and what we hope to achieve in the future. The OAKY books donation and invaluable time spent with our learners will go a long way in boosting their confidence to deliver excellence in their school work,” Themba declares.
The OAKY books are provided for by Read to Rise whose mission is to improve youth literacy by inspiring learners to develop the love of reading from a young age.
“OAKY books are age appropriate and offer relatable stories to get learners in any grade into the rhythm of reading. Developing the love of reading in children from a young age has overall literacy improvements that trickle into other parts of a learner’s development, such as comprehension,” explained Steve Tsakiris, programme manager at Read to Rise.
Tsakiris explains that the root cause for the low levels of literacy amongst learners is that most children come from homes without books and have never owned a reading books, do not have access to adequately-stocked libraries at their schools or in their communities and/or are not inspired or motivated to read.
According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, an international comparative reading assessment, eight out of every 10 children in South Africa cannot read properly in English, their home language or any other language.
It further showed that more than 3 quarters of Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning.
“With many Early Childhood Development Centres including preschools, creches and playgroups struggling to keep their doors open after hard Covid-19 lockdowns, many children from our most vulnerable communities are falling behind, a crisis we cannot afford,” Yeung concludes.