Last week I found myself enjoying story time in a crowded, stuffy classroom of Grade 2 kids in Gugulethu… Not my usual Tuesday, but one very well spent! I had been invited by MySchool Card to join a group of media on a visit to celebrate the successful collaborate between Woolworths, MySchool & Shine Literacy over the past festive season and I love learning, and sharing, different ways of giving back so I didn’t hesitate to jump on board!
Every December, Woolworths and MySchool embark on a special drive to raise funds in order to make a meaningful life-long impact for children in need. This past festive season R420 000 was raised for Shine Literacy by Woolworths customers simply 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 R5,39 million in the month of December!
Our visit to Litha Primary School was to see how these extra funds will be used by Shine Literacy 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!!
One of the biggest indicators of a child’s academic success is their access to books and printed materials in their own home. Unfortunately many schools and homes are not print-rich environments. This Woolworths/MySchool donation will go a long way towards changing that. Every parent or 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. Plus the reading corners that are being created in 20 schools will mean that all children in the class will have access to beautiful books – both in English and their home language.
“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.” – Pieter Twine, Woolworth’s General Manager of Loyalty and MySchool
My morning was such a fulfilling one…
Watching the kids awe at the TV crews filming the handover, seeing their animated faces light up when a camera was pointed in their direction, smiling at their enthusiastic answers to the questions from the story-teller, local author Sindiwe Magona… all of these were highlights of a beautiful morning, but none compared to watching their excitement at being handed a book of their very own, a own copy of ‘Palesa Can Walk’ by Sindiwe.
A book they could dive into straight away. A book they could read and understand themselves. A book that reflected their own lives. A book that they could take home and treasure forever! The noise of a boisterous class of 30-plus kids all eager to get their hands on the books being passed around changed instantly into silence as each kid opened the pages of their book (for some it was probably their first!) and started to look at the pages and absorb the story. It was a very special moment.
Shine Literacy’s slogan is that ‘Words can change Worlds’ and if we want to change the future of our beloved country, teaching children how to read and encouraging them in their education is the very best way to have a lasting impact on uplifting the economic and social aspects of South Africa. Don’t you agree?
The purpose of my How to Help series is for exactly this purpose… helping those who want to do more and give more to know how and where to get involved.
So many of us, myself included, really want to donate our time and money but are not always sure how to go about doing this… There are so many needs it’s often overwhelming to know where to start.
Fortunately joining the MySchool card programme costs you nothing and is very easy to do. You can sign up on the MySchool website and choose up to three schools, charities or conservation organisations which resonate with you and which you would like to support. Last year alone MySchool raised over R70 million for deserving organisations in the conservation and education space.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter