In 2009 at the launch of the Children’s edition of ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’ at the READ (Read, Educate And Develop) Trust in Ormonde, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Ziyande, eight years old at the time, was asked by her famous grandfather to read a message to those assembled.
“Our granddad believes that education and reading are two of the most important things for children. He has asked me to read you this message: ‘Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. The system of apartheid robbed many children of their right to a decent education and of the joy of reading. This joy is one that I have treasured all my life, and it is one I wish for all South Africans.
“‘We are happy that all children are now able to read, in the language of their choice, the story of the long road we travelled for freedom in South Africa. The children of South Africa need to know this history. Everyone should try to read for at least an hour every day. Parents can read to their children and older children can read for themselves.’”
Many children are compromised in their efforts for without light to read by, particularly in the winter months how can anyone be motivated into doing under candlelight?
St Francis Links residents Chris and Di Kelway recently contacted St Francis Today to attend a function at Sea Vista Primary School to witness their Light to Read Project. Not too sure what it was all about we arrived as Jeff Clause was sort of playing Santa again even though he wasn’t wearing the mandatory red suit. The St Francis Links combi had arrived with literally hundreds of brown paper bags packed with goodies supplied by First Choice, Spar and St Francis Links who also packed the some 600 packets.
The occasion was the handing out of almost 600 Solar Panel Lights as part of Chris and Di’s ‘Light to Read’ project where every child was given a solar light panel.
“We launched, in 2016, a Light to Read Project, whereby we provide every Learner in a low to no income environment a solar light. Every learner is permitted to take the solar light home and allows them to read and do homework after dark. We have already influenced 3000 learners in Gauteng and KZN and wanted to pick a School in the Eastern Cape.. hence Sea Vista Primary and we concluded that this was a good fit considering my relationship with St Francis.
We tracked improvements with the Learners and some very quick wins were as follows:
Homework completion rate improved from 20% to 65% within a matter of weeks and literacy improvement for the Learners had improved over 400% in a 6 month period.
For a Learner with limited energy source at home, this is an incredible benefit as the Learner can use a proper source of light to read and learn after darkness descends.
The School owns the solar right and the Learner is able to utilise the solar light at home, based on a continued code of good conduct.
Normally we would also donate a reading book to each Learner, but with the Rotary Club of St Francis Bay driving the Sea Vista Community Library Centre, the School will link our Solar Light to Read program with the Library Project.
The funds raised for the Light to Read program come from individual and private company donations and the program has no involvement from anyone in the Department of Education or Government. It is aimed at the Primary School Learner to provide this Light To Read assistance at as early an age as possible.”
Should you wish be part of the Light to Read Project Light to Read Project Pledge Form….