Just Imagine If You Weren’t Able To Read!
11 December, 2018
By Lynn Campbell, help2read CEO
As I had expected my arrival at London Heathrow Airport was on a dark, cold and very wet morning in the UK. I was further inconveniently dropped at the end of Kings Lane owing to my driver’s unwillingness to take his car down the muddy lane. It is at this moment that I had my first appreciation for my ability to read, without which I would not have been able to navigate myself to my first destination where I received a much-needed cuppa, before I was whisked off to my first meeting of many.
My second appreciation for reading was at the meeting which saw us meet the deadline for the innovative British Council proposal a successful collaborative effort between the Cape Town and UK based teams. This exercise required the use of the right words to describe a mobile Reading Club using “LightSail in a Box” which we look forward to initiating as our first social enterprise in the second quarter of 2019.
My first face-to-face meeting with Mr Alex Moss (Founder of help2read) was on the afternoon of the Big Give Campaign kicked off, suitably so for me to report on the 2018 notable successes and learnings in order to motivate the UK Board further support our Literacy Tutor Programme. Subsequently, the outcomes of my meeting with the Board members present, are reflective of their unwavering commitment and support for help2read in South Africa. We are all pleased that this years’ BIG Give Campaign successfully raised over £93 000, made possible through the efforts of all donors and supporters this year.
Certainly, a highlight was the opportunity to meet with our sister organization – Beanstalk, although regrettably short due to it being their D Week. I attended both their Reading 321 and Reading Leaders training, visited a school with the Beanstalk CEO, met volunteers and children from inner city schools and to my surprise, it felt just like home!
What I have brought home is the re-focus and emphasis on reading; reading to, shared reading and the enjoyment of good children’s literature which compliments the work we do in creating a culture and love of reading.
It was brought home to me very clearly the practical disadvantages one would face if unable to read. I used the London Underground tube, to criss-cross the city (sometimes up to four times a day) traveling on the Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo and City lines. Hopped on and off the tube at stations named: Marylebone, Oxford Circus, Paddington, Piccadilly Circus, Euston and Regents Park. All of which could have been missed had I not been able to read.
I had the opportunity to speak at a luncheon hosted by Linklaters, then attended a function hosted at SA House and met with our UK trustees Simon, Chantele, Nick, Richard and other influential SA ex-patriots in London. They all emphasised the importance of preparing our young literacy tutors, through education, for the world of employment. Help2read SA has its work cut out, however, we are on the right track to make it happen right here in sunny South Africa.
A huge thank-you to Simon, Tamzin and Nicole for their hospitality, making my two weeks in a grey and wet London such a resounding and warm success.
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