What could you be and how much more could achieve, if you had someone you look up to dedicating their time and energy towards your growth and development?
Wouldn’t it be life changing? Imagine the impact of this in the life of a child, growing up in an under-resourced and overcrowded squatter camp, with very few role models within reach. This week, I had the opportunity to be part of an empowering experience, when MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet invited me to the opening of a brand new reading centre at the Lerato Education Centre, in Eikenhof.
This reading centre runs on the support of Shine Literacy volunteers, who are dedicated to assisting children that struggle with literacy. The children have an opportunity to come to the centre during school and work with volunteers to improve their reading and writing skills. This is a big deal, because most of these learners come from homes where their parents do not read and in many cases cannot read. They have had little or no prior exposure to books or story-telling.
Through this initiative, each child gets two hours of one-on-one reading time a week, which is life changing in overcrowded school. They build a bond with their volunteer and the centre becomes their new escape and hope for the future. Once they are in their “Book Hooks” (a beautiful reading space with mats and cushions), they get to escape their harsh reality for a little while and cultivate a love for reading and learning. This is the second year that Woolworths and MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet raise funds for Shine Literacy.
Did you know?
78% of South African Grade 4 children cannot read for meaning. If you do not learn to read in your first three years of school, you are effectively locked out of all further academic learning; because in Grade 4 the shift moves from learning to read to reading to learn. I am realizing this, as my very own child started grade 4 this year, it’s a completely different ball game and without a solid foundation in reading, he would be lagging far behind.
As a parent, here is why you should read to your child:
- Reading boosts your child’s imagination
- Giving your child that focused attention reaffirms your love for them
- Reading promotes language skills, expands vocabulary and builds understanding
- Reading gives children a solid foundation for success, through absorbing knowledge and gives them a love for life-long learning
- It’s fun for everyone
When we hear of an unfortunate situation, it is easy to get preoccupied with the negatives aspects and get depressed, but I learnt so much from the children at Lerato Education Centre. I learnt to embrace the opportunities that do come my way, in spite of the absence of the other things I am working towards.
It’s normal to feel guilty or helpless in situations like this, but thankfully, there are programmes like the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet who make giving back that much easier.
Simply sign up for a free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card, swipe when you shop at their retail partner stores, and they will give back a percentage of your purchases, on your behalf, to the beneficiary of your choice. The system allows cardholders to make a difference to a worthy cause that they care about without it costing them a cent. You can register online at www.myschool.co.za, call 0860 100 445, download the app or get a card at your local Woolworths store. It’s quick and easy. Every swipe counts!
Modern Zulu Mom