According to UNESCO*, “250 million of the world's 650 million primary school age children are unable to read, write or do basic mathematics”. Annually, National Literacy Month draws attention to the illiteracy problem in South Africa in an attempt to create greater awareness around the importance of being able to read. Reading from a young age is very important as it stretches children’s imagination, develops their vocabulary, empowers them and as Maya Angelou once said: If you know better, you do better!
After collecting more than 3000 books for Collect-a-Can’s first Collect-a-Book drive earlier this year, they have decided to keep the momentum going by running a follow-up book drive to support National Literacy Month. Once again, schools will be encouraged to collect cans for recycling in exchange for the book donation that they will be receiving this month.
Three Gauteng schools located close to the Collect-a-Can branches, namely Boepakitso Primary School from Diepkloof, Johannesburg; Bokamoso Primary School from Soshanguve, Pretoria and Zitha Primary School from Evaton, Vanderbijlpark will be visited again this month and benefit from the book drive.
“By revisiting these schools, we hope to find that these learners have fallen in love with reading and that they perceive reading to be just as fun as many other activities,” says Zimasa Velaphi, public relations and marketing manager of can recovery and recycling organisation, Collect-a-Can. “When we visited them earlier in the year we challenged them to read at least one book before our next visit, we promised them that we would be back, and we are keeping our word. Next year, we will be selecting and focusing on benefiting other schools with our Collect-a-Book drive”.
The selected primary schools will each receive story books, while they will also be kept entertained by READalicious activities hosted by ReaderLympics. ReaderLympics is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Gauteng that encourages children to read by coordinating a variety of interactive and fun-filled reading activities, specifically aimed at showing youngsters that reading for leisure can be pleasurable.
“We are so proud of Zitha Primary School. After visiting them for Mandela Month two months ago, they have decided to participate in Collect-a-Can’s National School Competition and already managed to win themselves R1000 for bagging third place in their category and region,” adds Velaphi. The National Schools Competition encourages learners to collect cans for recycling to win their share of R788 800 in prizes.
Organisations and individuals are encouraged to show their support for National Literacy Month by volunteering their time to read to the learners at the selected schools or by donating reading books for ages seven to 13, which can be dropped off at any Collect-a-Can branch. For donations of more than 50 books, Collect-a-Can will collect the books personally at your location.
“There is no greater gift than to give someone the gift of reading! In celebration of Literacy Month, we would like to encourage all South Africans to help us fight against illiteracy in our country,” concludes Velaphi.
For more information about Collect-a-Can, please contact the Collect-a-Can head office on 011 466 2939 or visit the website www.collectacan.co.za. Collect-a-Can is also on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/CollectaCan) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/CollectaCan ).
For more information about ReaderLympics, please contact Tshepo Sefothlelo on 084 404 1548. ReaderLympics is also on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/readerlympics).