Library reaches out to young minds

The Khayelitsha library in Site B teamed up with Nal’ibali, a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, in their new Story Powered Activation project, for a one-day reading experience themed “Three Friends in a Taxi”, which translates to Abahlobo abathathu eteksini.

The two education advocates have pledged their support for telling stories in the informal settlements to raise literacy awareness.

The library staff and Nal’ibali visited TR section in Site B on Thursday October 19, to bring storytime to Imizamoyethu and Bongani Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres.

The two preschools have a total of 108 children aged between three and five.

This is not the first time the two organisations have worked together to promote reading and literacy programmes at schools.

Senior librarian Vuyokazi Rani-Njambatwa said this campaign was a specific drive to assist pre-schools with reading books and to also encourage members of the public to donate books to pre-schools.

She said the aim is to ensure that every young person has access to quality reading materials.

“Through this campaign we hope that we will change the mentality of many to embrace storytelling. As a library we are taking services to the people. The areas that we are visiting are excluded and most residents are unemployed. Most cannot come to the library for a number of reasons,” she said.

The children listened attentively as the stories were read to them. The little ones’ faces lit up with joy.

Language and literacy mentor at Nal’ibali, Thando Mkhoyi said coming on board to spread the love of reading in disadvantaged communities is in line with the organisation’s national objective to go to the most neglected areas. He said part of the day’s aim was to bring back good memories of reading for the children.

“Children in such areas are not experiencing storytelling. We are addressing the literacy crisis. Another aim is to get children reading or told a story in 15 minutes. The truth is people do not go to such areas, everyone goes to a better area where everything is in place,” said Mr Mkhoyi.

He said the partnership with the library would help open many doors for them.

Mr Mkhoyi said the plan is to reach out to as many ECDs as possible.

“There was excitement and happiness. You could see how children enjoyed themselves. The practitioners too were so excited because they felt honoured to get such a visit.

“We do not go to these areas because it’s either there is no proper road and we fear crime, but the truth is, it is children who are suffering,” he said.

He urged parents to play a part in reading out stories to children thrice a day.

He said reading stories to children is important for their upbringing and development.

Nomzamo Nkolisa of Imizamoyethu Educare applauded the reading drive and said they should visit creches more often.

She said creches in the disadvantages areas like TR section are not cared for. “I feel proud to be selected among the preschools that are enriched with this project. My children and the parents were also excited,” she said.