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Apr 16, 2019

Up Close with the 2019 LT's

WC LT's in After School Game Changers Training
WC LT's in After School Game Changers Training

It is already the end of a very busy first term and we are proud to introduce the 2019 Community Literacy Tutors.

After the recruitment and selection process in January, a total of 54 young people (aged 18 -35) have received the help2read Core Training. help2read core training is essential for LTs to not only understand the issues and challenges of literacy but to equip them with critical tools such as child protection, personal effectiveness before delivering one-on-one reading support.

In addition to developing young people’s skills that enable them to provide critical Reading Support to learners, the Community Literacy Programme focuses on developing youths’ professional and personal skills which help them to access career opportunities in the future. Through help2read partner organizations, additional training and workshops equip LT’s with skills to facilitate help2read Reading Clubs.

In the Western Cape, we are pleased that during term 1, Literacy Tutors received training from the After School Game Changers Programme (AS GC). This is a joint initiative in partnership with the City of Cape Town and a number of NGO’s active since 2017.  The objective is to increase learner participation in after-school activities at low-fee/no-fee paying schools in order to improve learner outcomes and reduce absenteeism.  help2read Community Literacy Tutor Programme offers Reading Clubs which are coordinated by LT’s as an after-school activity.  The help2read recognizes that Community Literacy Tutors’ participation in the AS GC Practitioner Training is crucial for the effective facilitation of active and engaging Reading Clubs at their schools.

In Gauteng, Diepsloot LTs participated in the Constitution Hill Human Rights Day Festival Workshops held on Fri 22, March 2019. Team Leader, Sibongile had this to say about her involvement;   “I enjoyed the cohesive NGO workshop because it taught us how to run or lead an organisation and also how to approach Donors and sponsors. I would like to thank help2read for granting me the opportunity to learn more about my work and the rights we have as NGOs“.

Human Rights Day help2read & Constitution Hill Partnership

From 21-24 March 2019 Constitution Hill hosted the 2nd Edition of the Human Rights Festival which comprised of 4 days of activism, conversations, art, culture, exhibitions, books, poetry, comedy, film, food, markets and music, celebrating, promoting and defending human rights. The festival aimed to build greater awareness and knowledge around human rights and to promote the importance of an active citizenry in the realisation of human rights.

help2read participated by attending three workshops and partnered with Constitution Hill to facilitate fun reading activities at the Kiddies Corner (Kids Zone) on Saturday 23 March.   We are pleased that our Community Literacy Tutor Team Leader Sibongile from Diepsloot attended two out of the four Workshops offered on Friday, 22 March. Having attended both the Bill of Rights and Cohesive NGO Methodical Approach Workshops, she has benefitted from the learnings which are relevant to her continued work with children at school and has gained a greater awareness of children’s rights. 

The Human Rights Day Festival was a family event and the Diepsloot Community Literacy Tutors ensured that children could play and showcase their rights to play and learn in a safe environment.  Entertainment was abundant, ranging from interactive reading activities, to colourful Lego building tables. Throughout the day children, were treated to engaging playful learning opportunities which included Puppet shows, Art and Drumming Circles which celebrated as well as emphasised the promotion and advancement of human rights.

This year we welcome back the returning tutors and introduce the new team leaders who have been promoted to leadership roles. Together with help2read staff, the Team Leaders will work collaboratively to design activities and programmes that promote learning through play to ensure that a reading culture is strongly nurtured in the children at their schools. Help2read strongly believes that children who read, thrive, and the reading support and guidance the LTs will provide throughout the year will have lasting benefits 

After School Game Changers Training (Western Cape)
After School Game Changers Training (Western Cape)
SA Library Week - Groenendal Library Activities
SA Library Week - Groenendal Library Activities
Story Telling: Conhill Human Rights Festival
Story Telling: Conhill Human Rights Festival
Lego Building Table: Conhill Human Rights Festival
Lego Building Table: Conhill Human Rights Festival
Reading Table: Conhil Human Rights Festival
Reading Table: Conhil Human Rights Festival
2019 Western Cape Literacy Tutors Team
2019 Western Cape Literacy Tutors Team
2019 Diepsloot Literacy Tutors Team (Gauteng)
2019 Diepsloot Literacy Tutors Team (Gauteng)
Jan 3, 2019

Celebrating our 2018 Literacy Tutors

Celebrating our 2018 Literacy Tutors

The help2read Literacy Tutor Programme kicked off in 2018 with 112 dynamic young individuals, 65 of which were from Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, and 47 from Diepsloot and Alexandra in Gauteng. The Tutors offered their learners the gift of reading for enjoyment through their one-on-one reading sessions and reading clubs. While they dedicated themselves to improving their learners’ literacy skills, the tutors became positive role models and gained the respect of their communities.

Western Cape Graduation Ceremony

On 30th November, the help2read team in the Western Cape celebrated the graduation of 56 tutors, all of whom had reached their goal and had successfully completed the 10-month programme. The ceremony celebrated their hard work and highlighted their achievements. The principals and teaching staff from the 7 schools that implemented the Programme in the Western Cape in 2018, as well as a representative from a community newspaper were invited to attend the celebration, hosted by Wes-Eind Primary School. Melody Volmink, who coordinates the programme, presented guests with an overview of the year through a photographic presentation, showcasing the most spectacular moments of the year. Individual reading sessions, group reading club sessions, spelling bees, Lego challenges, storytelling and reading and writing activities were captured and clearly showed the passion with which the tutors undertook the daunting task of fostering a love for reading within their learners.

The Tutors themselves have developed and grown in leaps and bounds during the year. Tiaan Papier, a Literacy Tutor who was based at Wemmershoek Primary took up the immense task of being the Master of Ceremonies. He proudly managed the agenda and kept all the speakers on their toes, ensuring that they adhered to their allocated time and task. The senior tutors were invited to share their thoughts on their leadership roles, highlighting their learnings and sharing with the team how the opportunity has encouraged them to further their studies and has opened the doors for new opportunities. Some of the first year tutors shared their learning experiences and indicated how this year had allowed them to make informed decisions around their own studies and has helped them to understand the difficulties that young learners face. Upon receiving their certificates, the tutors were beaming with pride.

Proud principals shared their experiences and gave an indication of the positive changes that they have seen at their schools since implementing the Literacy Tutor Programme. Mr. Saayman from Wes-Eind Primary, Mr. Boonzaaier from Wemmershoek Primary and Mr. Williams from Pauw Gedenk Primary sang the praises of the tutors who invested their time, energy and efforts, giving back to their communities. A proud moment for Mr. Boonzaaier was being able to identify tutors as former learners who attended the school not too long ago, and returned to plough back. He indicated that due to the programme the academic results of learners on the programme has improved, and he has seen the positive attitude changes that these learner’s display towards their school work.

Gauteng Literacy Tutor Graduation

The 45 Literacy Tutors that successfully finished the programme in Gauteng had their Graduation Ceremony on 13 December, held at the historic venue of Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. The schools that our Literacy Tutors worked at in Johannesburg were Diepsloot Primary 4 in Diepsloot and F C Carter Primary School, Ekukhanyisweni School, and Iphuteng Primary School in Alexandra.

The ceremony was MC-ed by our help2read staff member Gina, and our Managing Director, Lynn Campbell, flew all the way from Cape Town to present the awards to all the Literacy Tutors personally. Furthermore, there were special guests present, such as the authors Michelle Vogt, Ntsake Mkhabela, Refiloe Moahloli, Entrepreneur Selebogo Molefe and Volunteer Reading Help Ajit. The Literacy Tutors all got a chance to personally engage with all the special guests and with Lynn. Morever, one of our partners 'A change to play' attended, who have provided training to the Johannesburg Literacy Tutors throughout the year and who also presented special certificates to the participating Literacy Tutors. Finally, a representative from Terre des Hommes was also present, who have funded a large part of our Literacy Tutor programme in Diepsloot in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019 after having seen the success of the programme's first year in the community.

Special Awards

As a way of acknowledging the literacy tutors who really stood out this year, and adding an element of fun, a collection of special awards was presented. The token of appreciation and acknowledgement was embraced by the recipients as well as the rest of the tutors. The “Drama Queen” trophy was awarded for the individual’s confidence and making her presence known. The “Joker” trophy was awarded for keeping the team spirits up, making time to laugh at work and putting a smile on someone’s face. The “Chatterbox” trophy winner kept every one informed and engaged. The “Leka-Jy” award trophy winner was always ready to serve, nothing was too difficult to accomplish, has a winning attitude and determination to get the job done. “Mr. Personality” is known as the gentleman, confident in himself, readily acknowledging his mistakes, and has developed and grown on a personal level.

The “Tutor of the Year” award was presented to an individual who displayed overall growth, developed her leadership skills, and is recognized for her kindness, her ability to build the confidence of others and being a role-model to her peers. She pushed herself to excel despite the difficulties experienced at the school. The speeches were concluded by the address of the Western Cape Programme Manager Vastrohiette Gilbert. Her words of encouragement to the tutors reminded them about the impact that they made on the lives of the learners, by being committed and willing to share a little bit of themselves. The help2read Managing Director, who was in the U.K at the time, conveyed a special video message to the tutors, encouraging them to keep the flag of help2read flying high.

Life after Help2read…

The majority of the tutors will leave the programme and start a new journey either in the form of work or further studies.
Asiphe Nkumbi graduated from the University of Western Cape
Tuleka Tose, senior LT at Sobambisana Primary, was accepted into the B. Ed programme at UCT
Simthembile Kweleni, has found a space to be a radio presenter at the Khayelitsha community radio station
Sinazo Gabile, senior at Mbekweni, will be the new librarian at the local primary school in Mbekweni
Two tutors at Van Wyksvlei primary have been accepted by CPUT in Wellington to complete a three-year teaching course

Many are looking for opportunities to study Early Childhood Development part-time and working to support their families in 2019, while others have expressed interest to return as Literacy Tutors next year.

The tutors who left earlier this year have found permanent jobs in the hospitality industry, became computer lab assistants at schools in the area and continued their studies after acceptance mid-year.

Plans for 2019

We look forward to 2019 as we continue to strive to improve the implementation of the programme and selecting the best teams to serve and support the schools in the areas. Recruitment, interviews, training and induction process starts in this month for our literacy tutors.

Oct 10, 2018

Global Giving Report October - help2read

Carter PS Reading Circle
Carter PS Reading Circle

Meet the youth that are tackling illiteracy in South Africa one book at a time

It is 8 am on Monday morning at Ekukhanyisweni Primary School in Alexandra township, Johannesburg. Refilwe Matomela, a 24-year-old resident of Alexandra, sits down with a Grade 4 learner to start a one-on-one reading session in the container library at the school.

Refilwe is one of 13 Literacy Tutors who provide dedicated reading help to learners at the school. Affectionately called ‘’Reading Leaders’’ by the young learners, each Literacy Tutor meets with five children who struggle to read twice a week, providing them with one-on-one reading support.

The literacy intervention comes as a huge relief at Ekukhanyisweni Primary. Like many primary schools in township communities in South Africa, Ekukhanyisweni struggles under the pressure of overcrowded classrooms and limited resources and manpower. Children who battle to read do not receive the individual teacher attention they desperately need and, as a result, they are left behind while the school curriculum steams ahead. The future of these primary school children is grim because if you cannot read, you cannot learn, closing all doors to a better future.

The Literacy Crisis in South Africa

These struggles are felt by children across the country. In fact, 78% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning. This sobering statistic indicates the reality and magnitude of the literacy crisis that prevails across the country. It is a crisis that spills over into future generations and touches every area of society.

What is even more devastating is that behind the shocking statistic is a generation of children who are being robbed of future opportunities because they cannot read.

While the cause of the literacy crisis is deeply complex, helping children learn to read is simple. The key lies in individual, dedicated attention, which also happens to be one of the scarcest resources in many South African schools. For many children, simply sitting with a Literacy Tutor and receiving one-on-one reading help would dramatically reduce the heart-breaking illiteracy statistic.

Thankfully, someone is doing something about it - The Youth.

The Power of Youth as Changemakers

From the townships of Khayelitsha to Diepsloot and Alexandra, young people, like Refilwe, are making a difference in their communities through reading. Refilwe and her fellow Literacy Tutors at Ekukhanyisweni are enrolled in the help2read Literacy Tutor Programme, a year-long skills development programme that trains literate, yet unemployed youth to provide reading help to primary school learners.

As a Literacy Tutor, Refilwe meets with five students for 30-minute reading sessions at least twice a week. The demand for reading help is high and there are always more children to assist. Day by day, reading session after reading session, Refilwe begins to see improvement in her learners’ reading. What’s more, the learners who once hated books now cannot wait for their reading session to start. As each day passes, more and more children in Refilwe’s community are falling in love with reading, which is praised to be one of the key factors in educational achievement and the doorway to future opportunities.

It is this consistent, dedicated reading support that is changing communities for good.

And while the Literacy Tutors have a meaningful impact on their communities through reading, they also gain valuable work experience and skills training. This has proven to be crucial in South Africa’s current economic climate where millions of youth are unemployed.

Three terms into the 2018 school year, help2read has so far reached 1,907 learners through our one-on-one reading help in primary schools in South Africa’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods: 674 learners were helped by 358 volunteers through our Volunteer Reading Helper programme and an astonishing number of 1233 primary school children were supported by 106 Literacy Tutors through our Literacy Tutor Programme. On top of that, our Community Holiday Reading Clubs -led by the Literacy Tutors- are now in full fling and are very well received by the communities we work in. Each school holiday, we reach up to 2,500 children (aged 4-13) from township communities we work in through our Holiday Reading Clubs, enabling us to vastly expand our reach beyond the one-on-one reading sessions and grow a love of reading throughout these communities, outside of the classroom.

Literacy Month

September is Literacy Month - one of our favourite and most exciting months of the year, providing us with many opportunities to celebrate Literacy. This September was no exception, with the help2read team, Literacy Tutors, Volunteer Reading Helpers, teachers and learners celebrating Literacy throughout the whole month.

Activities ranged from Reading Circles, distributions of books to schools and neighbouring day care centres to hosting donor visits, puppet shows and, most excitingly, hosting our September Community Reading Clubs.

We are proud of our Literacy Tutors whose creative and efficient planning ensured a series of successfully executed Reading Clubs at both our Cape Town and Johannesburg partner schools. The activities in the Clubs ranged from reading circles, visiting neighbouring day care centres and distributing Lego Boxes.

Learners at Pauw Gedenk School were able to enjoy Puppet shows by UNIMA, who shared tales of the importance of literacy and the love for reading through the use of their incredible Puppets.

We are hugely grateful to all the literacy champions, authors, the Lego Foundation and donors such as Terre Des Hommes who participated in our Literacy Month activities and celebrated the importance of Literacy with us.

Books donated by Bridge House to Wemmershoek
Books donated by Bridge House to Wemmershoek
Puppet Show at Pauw Gedenk School
Puppet Show at Pauw Gedenk School
Thank you to Team Literacy
Thank you to Team Literacy

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