Day of fun after reading books

2015-12-17 06:00
 Children enjoying themselves during a Nalíbali reading club year-end party.

Children enjoying themselves during a Nalíbali reading club year-end party.

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Nal’ibali reading clubs gathered at the Gospel Church of Power in Africa on Friday to celebrate a year of driving literacy change in their community.

They are partners in the Philippi Network of Reading Clubs and the event was held to to recognise a year of reading and sharing stories with children

Thabisa Nomkhonwana Literacy Mentor qat the organisation said: “When children read for enjoyment, not only is their emotional well-being enhanced, but their chances of success at school are greatly improved, irrespective of their social or economic backgrounds,”.

Nomkhonwana oversees Nal’ibali’s Network of Reading Clubs in the area.

“We are taking a moment to acknowledge the committed team of adults who have made this year of literacy learning possible for our young members, as well as the children themselves who have not only taken their first steps towards becoming lifelong readers, but are now reading role models for others.”

Nal’ibali reading clubs offer children and their care-givers a relaxed and safe environment where they can read, tell stories, talk about what they are reading and get tips on how to read and share stories at home.

While the ocassion was used as an opportunity to meet and bond with others in the area, the clubs also supports children on their journey of becoming strong and powerful readers by sharing stories and literacy materials in both English and home languages.

“We started from humble beginnings in 2014 with just one club that I was operating from my home, but with more children joining each week, the need to accommodate them in appropriate spaces became a pressing concern that required the support of partners to successfully address(this need),” said Nomkhonwana.

Now, having collaborated with Ithemba Labantu, a church-based NGO in Philippi,which strives to improve the social and economic conditions of people living in the area and Ons Plek.

Ons Plek is also a network of shelters aimed at providing girls who lack resources with alternatives to street life, and who are running their own clubs.

Nal’ibali’s support has seen the partners grow the Philippi club base to 16, reaching as many as 425 children each week.

Run in schools, Early Childhood Development Centres and the library, the clubs form part of Nal’ibali’s network of over 700 reading clubs across the country.

However, it is only with the continued support of reading club leaders, volunteers, parents, care-givers and partner organisation staff that the children in the community are really able to benefit. The benefits of the clubs are evident in by their popularity and also the children’s positive shift towards reading and writing, their behaviour and performance at school, and insatiable love for stories.

Raeeza Erasmus of Ithemba Labantu said: “Nal’ibali is a very good programme. I learned a lot while at college, I thought I’d learned everything about children’s literacy, but with Nal’ibali, it’s different. There is so much passion and interaction with the children. We have a lot of fun.”

To conclude the special day and make sure the children were able to continue reading and sharing stories together over the holiday period, the young guests went home with a variety of stationary and literacy materials. Those interested in reading and setting up their own reading clubs, should visit the Nal’ibali website:; the Nal’ibali mobisite: or find Nal’ibali on Facebook:; and the Nal’ibali Twitter feed: @ nalibaliSA.

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