The Joy of Reading (with a Buddy)
Edu Fun partners with Diepsloot Combined School (DCS) located in an economically disadvantaged informal settlement north of Johannesburg as well as other communities in the Alexandra Township, Rosettenville and rural Wakkerstroom.
Edu Fun is a 100% volunteer led organisation that relies heavily on volunteers going into schools and teaching reading Face2Face, but has started to offer online interventions as well during Covid.
Despite Covid and the inability of our usual volunteers to have regular and personal contact with the learners we have managed to train locally based youth who have continued our programmes in these communities with very positive and encouraging results. Our Grade 3 learners have made great progress during 2021 having had little to no schooling for the whole of 2020 and then only attending school 50% of the time in 2021 due to large classes needing to be split because of social distancing.
This year we have been very fortunate to have worked in collaboration with Yoga4Alex who facilitated a group of unemployed youth spending 2 days a week teaching reading in Diepsloot. Yoga4Alex had the huge investment of paying for the weekly transport fees whilst Edu Fun arranged for Read for Africa to conduct free on-site training in the Phono-Graphix Reading method which turned out to be a win-win for both communities.
The youth who have been teaching reading have earned a small stipend while working towards their certification as Phono-Graphix Reading Therapists. The programme has provided financial relief for unemployed youth, provided them with a skill that has resulted in over 600 children having regular literacy instruction on a weekly basis and they have also started to build up their own private clients to teach reading with the intention of starting their own businesses teaching reading so that they can continue to earn an income once this project drawers to an end.
We are now looking into how we can expand and further develop our current Covid adaptions to become a key model within all our projects where we rely more on local youth to teach reading on a daily basis rather than a weekly and sometime adhoc volunteer programme.
Whilst working with volunteers obviously keeps ones’ costs down, the reality in challenging times, is that volunteers have their own crises and struggles and have to prioritise their own families, jobs etc. which results in interruptions to our programme. Young children cannot afford to have any breaks in their learning, however due to Covid this has been the norm rather than the exception.
Even though lock down restrictions have eased in South Africa there is always the threat of a fourth wave and our volunteer programmes will take months if not years to get the same level of hands on and face2face support.
This has forced us to think differently and to continue to re-imagine our delivery.
We are therefore hoping to replicate this model in 2022, in Diepsloot, but employ local unemployed youth to avoid paying high transport costs and to have the group working with Grade 2 and 3 children on a daily basis.
We aim to contract 10 local youth but do not have sufficient funds to pay stipends to the yourh to enable them to commit to the programme and attend every day,
We estimate the cost of the entire project to be R540 000 ($37 000) for the whole of 2022.
This equates to R45 000 ($3000) per month and will reach up to 600 Grade 2 and 3 learners on two sites. This is only R75 ($5) per learner per month or R900 ($45) per learner per year.
The above costs will include
- Stipend for x10 youth who are currently unemployed
- Phono-Graphix Training and Certification for each tutor to teach reading using the method
- Resource materials for the tutors as well as the learners
- Some basic administration costs to run the programme
The long-term goal is to replicate the project in other schools and keep training a new group of youth each year to multiply our impact.
Your continued support of Edu Fun and the work that we do is greatly appreciated.