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Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs

by help2read
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs
Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Reading Clubs

Literacy Tutor Progress Report June 2019

Western Cape Literacy Tutor Programme Progress Report – June 2019

As we are halfway through the year, this report will focus on the progress of our Western Cape Literacy Tutors, working in Khayelitsha and Wemmershoek Primary Schools.

A message from our LT Relationships Coordinator in the Western Cape: We have come this far by believing we can achieve our goals we set, overcome the challenges of each new day, perseverance with each learner when they find it extremely difficult to concentrate and continue, looking for solutions to solve problems we face at school, with staff, within the team and having a never giving up spirit! We are through term 2 understanding our purpose and commitment and those who are still not on the path are still discovering their need to belong. The LT teams are more aware of where they want to be and how they will move forward on this journey and that’s okay. Many have grown emotionally and made their mark in the life of the learners they are supporting as well as being the example to follow the lifestyle changes they have chosen. Our learners are now more comfortable with the support they are receiving from the LT’s and opened their minds to new things they are learning, understanding that it takes time, effort, energy and loads of positive thinking to read, write and understand the work they need to complete and achieve to become the best learner they can be! I want to commend the senior LT team for the hard-work they have continued to produce, willingness to put in the hours and hand over the many talents they have to the younger people they support.

Below find the inspiring message and experience from our Senior LT, Jevine at Wemmershoek primary school:

''I started my journey with Help2read as a literacy tutor last year. When the opportunity arrived I applied for the position as senior literacy tutor. It's been a journey full of ups and downs but as I was taught you always make the best of a bad situation. Whenever bad days strike I only think about the difference we make helping many young lives. Over the past year and half I have encountered many happy moments with learners at school as well the community. To see a Grade 4 learner showing off their skill after just four sessions is remarkable to any tutor. To hear a child read a book from beginning to end is worth celebrating because only you and that child know the effort that went into reaching that milestone. Besides a warm bed and food children need love, attention and most of all praise. To see a face brighten up after a simple "well done" is truly heartwarming. I thought I had my life set out but then the opportunity to be a part of Help2read came my way. Slowly but surely I realized that finally I can make a difference in young lives and live out the passion hidden deep down inside of me. To help children thrive is a blessing and even if I've helped only one child throughout my journey it would be worth all the challenges and obstacles that I have conquered so far.'' - Jevine -Senior LT Wemmershoek Primary/Franschhoek.

Progress at the Western Cape LT schools:

Team Khayelitsha

June has been a very short working month and there were a few difficulties in getting learners, since they were writing their mid year examinations. There were sessions observed during the Month of June, because we could not get any children or learners. There were also a few events that took place during this short period of time that we had. We planned for Reading and Spelling Bee competition that was a great success. We prepared rewards for best Spellers and best readers. We mostly focused on the learners that are in the help2Read program. The competition took place on the 10th of June.

LT’s currently remaining at the end of this term

Literacy Tutors based at school 13
Senior LT 0
Assistant LT 01

Events at the school:

The spelling and reading competition took place at our Schoool, Sobambisana Primary School on the 10th of June. We had great support from the learners of the school on the day from grades 2-5. Our prizes for the top three participants and runner-up were awarded at the end of our competition and were nothing else but games and books. The most rewarding part was to see and be in the presence of 120 learners who attended the event. We had 3 judges that helped assess the learners, the rest of the tutors were helping in keeping order in the space in which the audience attended and supported the brave learners.

Team Wemmershoek

Our team at Wemmershoek Primary has been stable and consistent with attendance, growth and learning steps taken over the past six months. They are willing and very capable of achieving their best outcome on a personal level if they continue to believe in themselves and support the learners as they do. The staff and principal are a supporting team who show their appreciation to the support team at the school. During the month of May the team was invited by the educators to put together a concert and showcase their work at the end of the term at Franschhoek High. They did a fabulous job (the first of many to come) with the learners who were willing to be part of the Arts & Culture opportunity and perform with other schools in the Franschhoek Valley. Raw talent from learners and LTs alike was exposed and will now be known to those who attended the concert. The learning points in this exercise were noted and have been expressed to the team.

Team members have the following skills within the team:
• Project planning
• Time management
• Choreography

LT’s currently remaining at the end of this term:

Literacy Tutors based at school 15
Senior LT 02
Assistant LT 02

Events at the school:

Talent show: We had lots of fun coaching some of our Grade ones, fours and sevens for the talent show presented on the 11th of June. As we didn’t have much time to rehearse due to exams, we had to put in double the effort and sweat but at the end of the day we had great success. Our Grade ones sang “Enemies camp” and they blew us away with their performance because for most of them it was their first time on stage. They were absolutely adorable!

Drama: Our Grade 4 learners entertained us with a short drama session about bullying. They delivered a strong message about bullying, the use of substance abuse and most of all about being there for one another. A sober, helping hand and forgiveness also featured which made it interesting, yet funny and definitely worth the watch. Our "tjanke balies” in action Our young actors doing their thing.

Dance: A spiritual dance was performed by our grade 6 learners. They enjoyed their performance just as much as the audience enjoyed watching it. A lot of practice went in to prepare them for a spectacular performance. All of our groups did so well that we were asked by the principal to do another show at teacher/parent evening in the next term.

Overall, we have made progress and our voices are respected and heard at the school. The most important role we play is to have a place to share the importance of literacy in the school life of the learners who enjoy the interaction with a team of young people they can relate to and build the bridges of change, open minds to new possibilities and gaining knowledge to help them to achieve a better future!

Training, Development and Growth

Help2read Period: 3 June to 31 July 2019
Target Audience: 28 Tutors: 15 based in Wemmershoek; 13 in Khayalitsha to be trained at Help2read premises, Century City.
Purpose: to train the above tutors in the following topics:
• Self-confidence
• Self-care (burnout prevention, personal hygiene)?
• Respecting self and others
• Interpersonal skills (empathy, compassion)
• Managing emotions
• Personal responsibility (dependability)
• Positive attitude
• Self-motivation
• Conflict Management
• Team work
• Communication
• Planning and organizing skills, time management
• Job searching skills, CV writing, interviewing skills
• Image and appearance

The journey and learning experience of a help2read literacy tutor-2019

''When I heard of this internship I just thought it was a job for young people. I didn’t know that it would have such a huge impact in my life. I took it as an opportunity, when I was called in for the interview and just went there because I wanted to do something in this year since I couldn’t go further with my studies. As time went by I started to understand the organization, it was such a blessing for me to be part of this organization and help children with their literacy. This programme is special because it activated the integrity within me .I became passionate about teaching. It is so wonderful and also a blessing seeing children striving towards their success and knowing that I was part of their development academically. I have learnt new things but the one thing that stands out was perseverance. I became so patient about everything not only in help2read but me spiritually and mentally. I want to thank the whole organization for giving me this opportunity. I treasure the opportunity given to me and will recommend the journey of discovery to my peers because it is a life changing experience for both learner and tutor. Thank you so much, I am really grateful.'' - Live - Sobambisana Primary/Khayelitsha

''Working with children was never in my future plans and never imagined working in such an environment. Since I started this help2read internship I have experienced a lot of fun learning new things that I never thought I had in me. I've gained the skill of interacting with the children in various ways and also life skills from this organization and attending workshops. Help2read internship opened the door to work with Light Sailed where the children do online reading. I have the opportunity to apply my computer skills by designing certificates for the children that read the most books in a short period of time and achieve badges. I'm also given the opportunity to design posters and certificates for all the help2read events that we have at Sobambisana Primary School such as holiday club, Africa day, and more. I am honored to be granted such a great opportunity.'' - Lindokuhle - Sobambisana Primary/Khayelitsha

''Since I started on the 1 of February 2019 it has been an amazing journey, even though working with kids is not something new to me. I have worked with children before but being in this organization has helped me a lot how to work with children in a humble way. Help2read has trainings that are so good and educational they are very much needed especially to me as a young mom because you not only taught about children but yourself. I had a low self-esteem when I started but those training have boosted my confidence and I would like to say thank you for allowing me to be part of this amazing team'' - Sinomnqophiso - Sobambisana Primary/Khayelitsha.

''I started at help2read from the 01 of February 2019, it was so amazing! I was happy to be part of our first event on Read Aloud day which was so good. At first I did not know what read aloud day was but since that day I gained knowledge, confidence and courage as it was my first day reading aloud to the children. I have gained experience here at help 2read and how to deal with learners especially on those one-one sessions and how to communicate with them. The trainings that we have been attending helped me to face challenges on the days I feel like giving up. Overall it has been a humbling experience and a real joy to work for the organization.'' - Zandile - Sobambisana Primary/Khayelitsha

''Starting from the day I arrived here on help2read literacy programme I was very shy because I wasn’t sure what I was going to face. The experience was new but as time passed I realised that there is nothing difficult about this literacy internship. I have learnt so much in the work place that will help me find opportunities to look for jobs for example; how to communicate with people and young children, working as group and how to tutor learners in English. I am very proud of the changes I have made in my life and the knowledge gained to teach learners because it has made me think of my career and applying for a teaching course.'' Thembela  - Sobambisana Primary/Khayelitsha

''My experience at help2read since I started helped me gain a lot of skills in different areas in my life. I am grateful for all the workshops we are attending to improve our skills. Working with children can be a bit challenging but I can now handle the pressure because of the skills that I gained from the workshops. It is great honor to work for such an amazing organization that grow and expand young minds and including myself to be better.'' - Zonke - Sobambisana Primary/Khayelitsha

''To me it is a great privilege to be a part of the help2read programme and be the reason a child improves every day. The help2read organization has been so far helping me to improve my confidence to communicate more freely and openly with my peers and learners which I was not able to do before. I am helping the children by developing their reading and listening skills. A tutor can't just give a child a book and expect them to read but first build trust in me and help build their self-confidence to make them feel comfortable reading in English and by understanding it. Most days it can be difficult teaching the children but worth knowing that you as a tutor have a positive impact on a child's future. The impacts I have on the children are by making them believe they are better and by reminding them that they can do better because each day is a learning day for everyone. My input on a child is helping them to find courage at what they doing and to become a better person. It has been a great experience so far to be part of the help2read programme.'' - Veronique -Wemmershoek Primary/Franschhooek

''I am Danielle Petersen a Help2Read Literacy Tutor at Wemmershoek Primary. In 2018, I matriculated at Kylemore High. In my primary and high school years, I have always wanted to become a teacher. After my matric year, I decided to apply for this internship, as a tutor to help me understand the basics of teaching and how to work with children and different personalities, ages and circumstances. In addition to see if this is really what I wanted to do as a career. I heard about the Help2Read Organization and immediately decided to apply. I believe reading plays a crucial role in a child's success in life. Ever since the day I have started at Help2Read, my life has changed in many positive ways. I never had patience in my life but being a LT helped me so much to have patience. I am so blessed to be part of the Help2Read team and the children I have been with the past months. The children definitely taught me a lot and I am so honoured to be part of their success.'' - Danielle -Wemmershoek Primary/Franschhoek

''My journey at help2read started as a literacy tutor at Wemmershoek Primary in 2017. When I started the journey I was so afraid and shy and didn’t really know what to do at first. Thereafter training for tutors started and all the fun began. My journey was a slow process but I overcame my fear but need to work on the shyness. Through this programme I gained self-confidence and self-motivation skills. My confidence boost gave me the courage to apply my mind and skills to apply for Assistant Literacy Tutor this year and in a leadership role, I never dreamt of taking on! If it wasn`t for help2read training sessions, life skills and new things we taught I wouldn`t be who I am today and I`m proud of myself and the progress made.'' - Junica -Assistant Literacy Tutor – Wemmershoek Primary/Franschhoek

''I am Sue-Ria Arendse, 19 years old and live in Franschhoek. I am a literacy tutor at Wemmershoek Primary, this is my second year as literacy tutor and so far I’ve been experiencing quite a lot of new adventures and gained knowledge along the way. The children teach us as tutor’s new things as we help them improve. It's been a fun and interesting journey with help2read and the children enjoy themselves with us. My goal for next year is to go further my studies in educare and I’m proud to say I can do that because of all the new skills I received from help2read.I'm looking forward to a fun, jolly and also educational experience for the rest of the year.'' - Sue-Ria  – Wemmershoek Primary/Franschhoek

''My experience with Help2Read has been great, honestly speaking. The internship has made me have an open mind about myself and what I would like to do in the near future. Teaching was never ideal but now that I’ve got the opportunity to be part of the Help2Read team, I see it an opportunity to become a teacher. It’s a nice experience to work with different people and different types of personalities. The children have made me see things as positive rather negative because of the joy we as the LT’s bring to the children. - Sange -Sobambisana Primary/Khayelitsha

''To be a LT is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life .Being able to open a world of exploring to children struggling with schoolwork is a privilege, many children struggle with school work because they fail to understand when questions are asked. When they can read they receive the most out of school work. This in turn can again push that child’s confidence and self-esteem. Keeping them motivated to remain at school and build a better foundation for when they become an adult. The opportunity especially with the one on one sessions helps to see and experience the growth in that child as well as the joy and confidence boost they receive. Every step of improvement is what makes it worth being in the shoes as literacy tutor. I would like to know more because I want to start my own after school program for children with reading and learning difficulties. Reading can empower children, opening a whole new world of possibilities which in return can produce a more mature and literate adult hence breaking the chain of poverty as well as building strong communities and a nation.'' - Inske -Wemmershoek Primary/Franschhoek

''I am Lee-Nay this is my second year at Help2Read. Working at Help2Read made me realize that learning comes both ways and it comes in ways we didn’t expect it. The experience at work is beyond words. I have learnt how to be patient and to understand that not all children learn the same way but that all children are special in their own way. I have learnt how to work out strategies for different situations and sometimes I didn’t know how able and capable I am to do certain things. Working at Help2Read really changed my life because on days when I don’t feel good, coming to work can change a life and that makes me happy again. The children in my care are really extraordinary and special.'' - Lee-nay Wemmershoek Primary Franschhoek
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)

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.

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


NB: For full report including images please see attachment 'Global Giving blog - FINAL PDF'


Meet some of our Literacy Tutors & read the highlights of the June Holiday Reading Clubs in Gauteng and Western Cape

Under the theme ‘Readers are Leaders’, learners in Gauteng and Western Cape celebrated Youth Month along with our Literacy Tutors in the Holiday Reading Clubs. Our Reading Clubs during the period June – July are filled with electric energy and excitement, offering a warm atmosphere and beating the Winter Chills. This wonderful celebration of reading took place in all four LT-schools throughout Gauteng (Ekukhanyisweni Primary School, Iphuteng Primary School, F C Carter Primary School, Diepsloot Primary) and in four of our LT-schools throughout the Western Cape (Groendal Primary School, Wemmershoek Primary School, Sobambisana Primary School, Pauw Gedenk Primary School). Some of the Clubs were held during the last week of term 18-22 June 2018, due to school concerns over teacher presence over the holiday break, and others were held during the June school holidays 25-29 June 2018.

 Learners participating in our Community Literacy Tutor programme, as well as other children in the township communities of Diepsloot, Alexandra, Franschhoek, Wemmershoek, Khayeltisha and Wellington were able to enjoy a fun-filled week participating in various reading activities. These activities ranged from playing lots of games, such as cat and mouse, treasure hunt, twister and lots of ball games, as well as book discussions, arts and craft, role-playing, games involving newspapers (e.g. newspaper dress-up, newspaper hunt, constructing a sentence using different newspapers, and of course lots of book reading. Each day had a different skill focus, such as team work, commitment, respect, communication, playing for fun not to win, listening, caring and sharing, confidence, perseverance & determination, memory & focus, and spelling & grammer. Throughout the activities, learners and Literacy Tutors could be seen throughout the Clubs/schools, using their imagination and creativity to confidently express their individual talents through various mediums.  For example, at Wes-Eind Primary, a talent show was given by learners, showcasing their rights such as culture, language, dancing and reciting their gratitude to freely express themselves as individuals.

Furthermore, prior to the Holiday programme, our LTs from Diepsloot -led by area supervisor Mlungisi and programme supporter  Makgotso- were able to convene a skills-transfer training where they shared what they learned from the A Chance to Play training. The ACTP Training equipped them with a firm understanding of Play as a vital resource for the development and wellbeing of children, as they explored the many ways it can encourage learning for literacy and how it is every child’s right to play.

 We enjoyed the holiday fun with a total number of 1614 children in Gauteng - a great improvement and success following the inaugural programme last year- and 810 children in the Western Cape. The children participating in the Community Reading Clubs ranged between grade R and grade 8 (ages 4-12), which goes to show how wide the reach is of this safe, educational and recreational infrastructure that help2read has established in these disadvantaged communities.



Meet some of our Literacy Tutors

Meet some of the young people enrolled in the Literacy Tutor Programme in 2018 that have contributed to the success of these Holiday Reading Clubs.


Refilwe Matomela – Ekukhanyisweni Primary School (Alexandra)

“My hopes for the youth in my community - that they would make good choices, challenge their minds and not be afraid to voice their concerns”

 Refilwe Matomela is a Literacy Tutor at Ekukhanyisweni Primary Primary School in Johannesburg. Refilwe enrolled in the year-long programme after hearing about it through a friend. “More young people should get involved in the programme - it’s an opportunity to stay away from negativity and keep safe from crime”, said Refilwe. She believes the whole community benefits when a child learns to read. “Reading helps the community by creating great leaders that are informed”, she explained. “I can have an impact on the future through the children that I tutor.”


Michelline Davids (Second year LT) – Wes-Eind Primary (Franschhoek)

“Grow a love of books and you will break the cycle of poverty and unemployment.”

Michelline Davids is a Literacy Tutor at Wes-Eind Primary School. She believes learning to read is crucial in ending poverty and changing her community for good. “More young people should get involved in this programme to help break the cycle of poverty; youth are the future and by helping them develop a love of reading, they’ll be able to finish school and create a better future for themselves.” Michelline, we couldn’t agree more!

Porche Fortuin – Wemmershoek Primary School (Wemmershoek)

“When a community is able to read they can understand and when they understand, they know, which then ignites a desire to know more, also to be more, and finally work toward something better.”

 Meet Porche Fortuin, a Literacy Tutor Team Leader at Wemmershoek Primary. With the dream of becoming a teacher, the LT-Programme provided the perfect opportunity for Porche to gain hands-on experience working with children. She said: “This program is unlike anything I have ever encountered. I’ve learnt that I have the power to motivate a child to love reading and that I am capable of helping a child grow in confidence. I personally would advise that more members of the youth should get involved in this program because not only will they be able to help empower a child through education, they will also realize the potential within themselves.’’


 Jevine Goliath – Wemmershoek Primary School (Wemmershoek)

“Every child needs someone to help them in the right direction and if I can help only one it would already make a huge difference.”

 Meet Jevine Goliath, Literacy Tutor at Wemmershoek Primary School. With the aspiration to become a teacher or social worker, Jevine joined the programme as the next step towards pursuing her dreams. Not only has Jevine personally grown since joining the programme, she’s watched her learners develop too. “It’s heartwarming to see a child with a very low self-esteem grow into one who participates and can take the lead.” Jevine believes youth can be positive role models in their communities through the Literacy Tutor Programme. “Today we are fighting against all kinds of bad elements and with more youth actively involved to stand as role models to help young children make wise and informative decisions, we can only achieve great results.”


Mandela Day – 18th July – give the gift of reading

If you want to support us in expanding these successful Reading Clubs to more townships in the near future, and thereby make a change in the lives of thousands more children and youth in disadvantaged communities throughout South Africa, Mandela Day would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
This year marks 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth. We invite you, our partners and supporters, to join us on our mission to reignite the joy of reading in children this Mandela Day in the #100by100 Challenge.  Mandela Day is on 18 July and this year we will be reviving reading rooms and spaces at partner schools in Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as collecting items for Resource Boxes that will be gifted to under-resourced schools. There are three ways you can get involved and make a BIG difference in the lives of children that struggle to read!

  • Revamp a Reading Space: Volunteer your time and join us in creating and exciting and engaging reading space in an under-resourced school. Having a dedicated space for reading that is inviting for learners goes a long way in encouraging reading. Gather your colleagues, friends or family members, or come solo, and make a big difference! Contact us for more information.
  • Run a Collection Drive: We need a range of items to help create engaging reading spaces at under-resourced schools, as well as items for our Resources Boxes which we will be gifting to carefully selected schools to help expand their literacy reach. To view our inventory wish-list for the revamp and resource boxes, please click here.
  • Donate: If you can't volunteer on the day, or are not based in South Africa, you can still make a difference. We're thrilled to announce that every donation we receive on Mandela Day through the Global Giving platform will be matched up to 50%! Be the legacy this Mandela Day, give the gift of reading! Find our Global Giving project page here.


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Organization Information


Location: Century City, Western Cape - South Africa
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @help2read
Project Leader:
Nicole Kalkman
Century City, Western Cape South Africa
$6,426 raised of $46,875 goal
63 donations
$40,449 to go
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