Looking back at 2017
14 December, 2017
As 2017 draws to a close, the findings of the 2016 PIRLS study are top of mind. They present a devastating truth: that 8 out of 10 Grade 4 children in South Africa cannot read for meaning in any language.
As an organisation dedicated to literacy promotion, the PIRLS findings call for even greater commitment to the execution of our mission and a vigilant attention to determining our impact to ensure that we are able to focus on what works in the building of literacy skills and the promotion of a love of reading in children and their communities. Without the ability to read, children do not have the ability to learn.
To this end, a highlight of our 2017 year was the introduction of after school and holiday reading clubs in the three township communities our Literacy Tutors served. Over 1,600 learners participated in programmes that sought to bring reading to life in various ways – through peer and group reading, writing into reading, story dramatization and more. As importantly, our reading clubs providing safe, recreational and educational infrastructure to communities historically disadvantaged of such resources. These kinds of innovation in the literacy space, innovations built on collaboration and holistic reach to all, are essential for significant impact in the lives of South African learners.
Our commitment to collaborations continued throughout the year with effective and creative partnerships being built to enable collective action. We believe these partnerships are essential if we want to unlock potential and maximise efficiencies for the benefit of the children we serve. Mentioning a few, Breadline Africa has been a great partner in providing access to dedicated and beautiful reading spaces; Nal’iBali for the training of our Literacy Tutors to enable the implementation of reading clubs, Lego Foundation for the use of Lego to enhance literacy and, crucially, our sister charity Beanstalk (UK) for the continued commitment to best practice and innovative ways to enhance our training of volunteers, our reach to new reading helper groups and our methodology to ensure reading help achieves results. Thank you all, including those we may not have mentioned.
On behalf of the learners on our programme, we would like to extend a huge thank you to all of you, our donors, supporters, partners, volunteers and tutors. You have all stepped up to the challenge of helping South Africa’s children to read. We look forward to the year ahead, one of great promise and exciting expansion, and encourage you to continue the work of helping South Africa’s children.
Look out for our back-to-school #myreadinghelper campaign in January, which will showcase the power of reading to improve a life through literacy with some of our star volunteers and learners!
– Mandy Trevour
Director of Operations
Registered SA Non-Profit 063-979 PBO 930027054 UK Charity Reg No. 1109567 Registered Office: Oak Farm Cottage, Mill Street, Gislingham, Suffolk, IP23 8JT