Nal’ibali celebrates milestones

2015-12-17 06:00
 Nal’ibali Reading Clubs gathered at the Mandela Park Swimming Pool on Saturday.

Nal’ibali Reading Clubs gathered at the Mandela Park Swimming Pool on Saturday.

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Nal’ibali Reading Clubs gathered at the Mandela Park Swimming Pool on Saturday to recognise a year of reading and sharing stories with children.

Kamohelo Ramapaito, a Literacy Mentor who oversees Nal’bali’s network of Khayelitsha reading clubs 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,”.

“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 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 caregivers a relaxed and safe space 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 they offer an opportunity to meet and bond with others in the area, the clubs also support children on their individual 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 was operating from the Harare Library, 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...,” she added.

Now, having collaborated with organisations such as Sikhula Sonke-a community-based organisation that addresses the need for quality early childhood development in Khayelitsha-Rotary and Harare Public Library who are running their own clubs with Nal’ibali’s support- the partners have grown the Khayelitsha club base to 39, reaching as many as 1 379 children each week.

Run from schools, including from 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, caregivers and partner organisation staff that the children in the community are really able to benefit.

The benefit of the clubs is evident not only in their popularity, but in the children’s positive shift towards reading and writing, including their behavioural patterns and performance at school, which has evolved into an insatiable love for story reading and telling.

Mdebuka Mtwazi, Executive Director of Sikhula Sonke, said:

“Since our partnership with Nal’ibali, we have not only seen an improvement in our children’s language development, but their confidence and self-esteem have also been boosted.

Now they have a passion for stories and are able to make up their own too.”

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 were sent home with a variety of stationary and literacy materials.

For those wanting to get reading, or wanting to set up their own reading clubs, please visit the Nal’ibali website:; the Nal’ibali mobisite: or find Nal’ibali on Facebook:; and the Nal’ibali Twitter feed: @ nalibaliSA. Ramaipato can also be reached on

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