As part of the recent Mandela Day activities two friends of Masicorp’s Sophie Billington, Sean and Tracey Fraser, contacted all their friends and asked them if they would be prepared to donate money to purchase tables and chairs for the crèches in Masiphumelele. Sean is an editor and Tracey a graphic designer who illustrates and prepares the layout of books. Simon and Tracey also contacted the publishing houses that they work with and asked them for help.
The results were spectacular as they managed to raise R13,738 from 20 generous supporters and contributors. As a result, Masicorp were able to hand over 33 tables and 132 chairs to five crèches in Masiphumelele, as well as reading books (courtesy Pearson Education SA), reams of paper (fresh, clean and white – a real treat for kids who only ever get to draw on scrap paper), crayons, HB pencils, sharpeners and scissors: the things many other children take for granted at school but are sadly often in short supply in Masiphumelele.
Last Thursday was the handover day for the new books in the library at Ukhanyo Primary School. About 200 brand new isiXkhosa books for early readers were handed over to the obvious delight of the youngsters.
Many books donated in areas such as Masiphumelele are not in the Children’s home language. Although proficiency in English is crucial in later schooling at the early learner stage it is important to encourage children to read as early as possible and therefore books in their home language are a key starting point. This can be seen from the young reader in the top right of our photo montage with her isiXkhosa copy of “Indlela ende eya kuTata” (A Long Way to Baba), which uses a family outing to explain mathematics through distance and time.
Sean and Tracey commented:
“Following our experience with the Masiphumelele crèches in July, we discovered that access to books among primary school learners – in other words, new and young readers – was extremely limited, and even more so when it comes to books in the home languages. So, with the generous support of local publishers, most notably Cambridge University Press Africa, we were able to source a wonderful supply of books and early-reading developmental aids for kids who progress from those crèches to Big School in Masiphumelele. Thank you to Cambridge University Press – and happy reading, kids!“