In an effort to urge children and youth to read books frequently, the Eyentsatshane For the Little project was officially launched recently at Khulani library.
The organisation aims to develop children around Khayelitsha by promoting reading, writing, puppetry and story-telling.
Various stakeholders gathered at the library to attend the launch and applauded the founders of the organisation for taking such a bold step.
The organisation clearly states that if children are exposed to more words that plays a vital role in expanding their vocabulary.
Eyentsatshane For the Little project founder, Thando Mkhoyi, said they discovered a gap in the market when it came to literacy and felt that they needed to fill it.
Mr Mkhoyi said children from the township were exposed to only 11 million words in their early years while children from the suburbs and professional families were exposed to 43 million words. This is according to research recently conducted by the South African Book Development Council and Douglas Murray Trust on literacy in the townships across the country.
This, he said, was one of the key factors that propelled them to launch the organisation. He said their mission was simple and was to make reading enjoyable and provide an alternative space for children.
He said they discovered that children consider reading and story-telling a boring exercise which was not beneficial to their growth.
However, he said their aim was to reverse this negative perception hence they had taken a different approach and developed a strategy to make reading and story-telling a fun exercise rather than a serious activity.
He said they realised that children get bored easily and have limited attention spans so they have also implemented various strategies to ensure that children were attracted to reading and story-telling while having a good laugh.
“We want to make reading a daily excise for children. We want parents and grandparents to go back to the days of making up bedtime stories. We want to improve literacy in Khayelitsha. We strongly believe that if children could learn the importance of reading and story-telling that could help them improve their academic performance. We want to change the notion that children from the township don’t read books. We want to inculcate a culture of story-telling while they are still young,” he said.
But he said in order for the organisation to achieve their ambitious goals, they need financial support.
However, he said this won’t cripple or dampen their spirit from working towards achieving their goals. He said in the coming weeks and months they will host workshops and story-telling sessions.
Sikhula Sonke early childhood development executive (ECD), Mdebuka Mtwazi, said it was great seeing more men being involved in the ECD sector.
He said he wanted to warn members of this new organisation that there were many challenges in the industry which could cripple their confidence but patience and perseverance would take them a long way.
He said funds were some of the main challenges facing many organisations in this sector but he advised the leadership of the organisation to instil a culture of transparency and accountability.