Every festive season, Woolworths and MySchool embark on a special drive to raise funds in order to make a meaningful life-long impact on children in need. Over December 2016, up until Christmas Day, R420 000 was raised for Shine Literacy simply by customers swiping their MySchool and linked Woolies cards at till points. These funds were over and above the usual support for customers’ own selected beneficiaries, which already amounted to R5,39milion in the month of December.
Shine Literacy believes that “words can change worlds” and their vision is to create a nation of readers and they run a variety of impactful programmes to help transform the country’s low levels of literacy amongst younger children. Spaull (2016) found that 58% of Grade Four children in South Africa could not read for meaning, while 29% were illiterate “That’s a staggering number of our children excluded from all the many, well-researched advantages of loving to read, says Maurita Weissenberg, Executive Director of Shine Literacy, “And, for the most part, these are the same children who are also experiencing major deprivations when it comes to nutrition, living conditions, health and safety.”
To combat this, the Woolworths and MySchool festive season donation to Shine Literacy will be used to establish 20 reading corners in under-resourced foundation phase classrooms, as well as to provide 2 400 families with reading resources and the inspiration and skills to embed the vital culture of reading at home. Parents remain one of South Africa’s most under-utilised resources when it comes to education, and they tend to undervalue their role in their child’s education. Sadly, many schools and homes are not print-rich environments, but Shine Literacy aims to give children access to vibrant resources everywhere they turn. With the help of the Woolworths/MySchool donation, each parent/caregiver who attends one of Shine’s Family Literacy Workshops this year will receive three books as well as a manual full of ideas to help them create a culture of reading at home. The reading corners that are being created will mean that all children in the class have regular access to beautiful books – both in English and their home language.
Noting the increase of funds raised over the year before, Pieter Twine, Woolworth’s General Manager of Loyalty and MySchool commented: “We could not have done this without the support of customers: by swiping their cards we are making a meaningful impact where it is needed most. Giving the gift of reading to a child is a priceless way to make a difference.”