New literacy and library centre officially opened in Zwide

2019-07-24 06:00
Youth leader, Yolisa Pandle, with two of the learners who receive extra reading lessons at the newly opened Library and Literacy Centre in Zwide.Photo:SUPPLIED

Youth leader, Yolisa Pandle, with two of the learners who receive extra reading lessons at the newly opened Library and Literacy Centre in Zwide.Photo:SUPPLIED

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THE new Isaac Booi Literacy and Library Centre was officially opened on July 18, much to the delight of young learners in Zwide.

The joint library and literacy project at Isaac Booi Primary School is a beacon of hope both for the children who receive daily reading lessons in the library, as well as local young graduates who are employed there.

The centre is a partnership between two Port Elizabeth-based charity organisations, Masinyusane and United Through Sport.

“We are proud to report that the project is off to an excellent start. We have successfully hired and trained five local, previously unemployed youth, having received nearly 100 applications and are thrilled with the passion, energy and commitment of this first group of youth leaders,” said Masinyusane’s executive director, Jim McKeown.

The youth leaders began literacy sessions with foundation phase children from Isaac Booi Primary School in April, after receiving training in using the Wordworks literacy methodology.

“Each one of the youth leaders lives within walking distance of Isaac Booi Primary. This was intentional, as one of the project goals is to hire talent from the community surrounding the school and to empower them.

“The jobs provide more than just an income to these youths as they gain work experience, develop professional skills, are put in a leadership position in which they’re helping uplift children from their own neighbourhoods and create a sense of purpose and meaning,” said McKeown.

With classrooms in township schools traditionally having more than 40 learners per class, the literacy sessions provided by the leaders give the Grade R and Grade 1 learners much needed one-on-one attention.

Isaac Booi headmaster, Ludwe Memese, said that he was looking forward to strengthening the relationship between the school and Masinyusane.

For this school term, the partnership will extend to girls from neighbouring schools who form part of United Through Sport’s Junior School of Excellence programme.

“Two of the youth leaders will assist with the roll-out of GirlsUnite, an empowerment programme for girls aged 10 to 13 at Isaac Booi, while the after-school programme will focus on empowering senior primary girls, with various workshops and literacy sessions that would take place at the Isaac Booi Library and Literacy Centre,” said United Through Sport director, Nick Mould.

“We are very excited about the project and look forward to working together to grow, expand and help more children.

“Together, we are providing these children with the academic foundation they need to unlock their potential and succeed in future school years,” said Mould.

It is a future goal of the project to expand and include more library initiatives for children of all ages from the local community in order to create and encourage a widespread culture of reading.

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