NGO inculcates a culture of reading

Heads were put together to help pupils Homba Primary in Khayelitsha to read.

Khayelitsha-based non-profit organisation Calabash Storytellers is hoping to inspire children to read more books than before.

The organisation, whose aim is to promote and preserve oral traditions through age old storytelling methods, couldn’t wait to read to pupils at Homba Primary School on the eve of World Read Aloud Day observed annually on Wednesday February 5.

The organisation’s facilitators, Vuyiseka Sithonga and Nomfingo Mthotywa, conducted the Rise Identity Programme that created a special camaraderie and fun with the hope that more kids will develop a passion for reading.

Speaking about World Read Aloud Day, Ms Sithonga said the ideas shared advanced the organisation’s mandate of storytelling, heritage, arts and culture and the legacy. “I believe initiatives like Read Aloud Day should always be in us. This encourages young people, especially kids to love books and their languages. This is something that many of the parents should also volunteer to do,” she said.

She also admitted that helping children with reading and writing was quite challenging due to their age.

“They are still young most of the time they don’t do exactly what you’ve asked them to do; instead they play.

“So I’ve learnt to be calm and patient with them so that I can get good results of facilitating. But children are amazing,” she said.

Ms Mthotywa added that days like Read Aloud Day were often where dreams were born.

“I’m happy to be contributing to the initiative of storytelling and the Rise Identity Programme done by Calabash Storytellers as a facilitator because by telling and reading stories to these kids, I’m grooming them to love reading, and encouraging them to be confident and love learning which will shape how they become in future,” she said.

Founder and director of Calabash Storytellers, Nomasebe Dondolo, said they wanted to give the kids an opportunity to show of their knowledge and reading skills.

“As an organisation, we have always asserted our position to impact our communities and individuals positively. Six years on, our work and participation in the Expanded Public Works Programme, young people are benefiting as participants and facilitators of various programmes amongst them an arts and literacy curriculum support in schools, book clubs, research, archiving. We aspire to improve and upskill our youth as tomorrow’s leaders by stretching and challenging what they believe they know and are capable of,” she said.

Their organisation, she said, was grateful to the schools, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and the pupils who kept them on their toes with their love and thirst for knowledge

The school said it was delighted to have people involved in children’s education.