The annual Big Book Wrap, organised by Learning in Reach, will see 1 000 books enter the homes of young learners in under-resourced communities across Cape Town, thanks to a generous donation.
Learning in Reach, a non-profit organisation (NPO) which aims to empower children through education for the improvement of their futures, hosted their fourth Big Book Wrap this month in collaboration with Direct Axis, a financial service provider.
The project, explains chief executive officer of Learning in Reach Leanne Reid, aims to ensure that all their early childhood development (ECD) beneficiaries build a collection of books at home to encourage an interest in reading.
“Giving children access to high-quality, relevant books is associated with positive behavioural, educational, and psychological outcomes,” says Reid.
Direct Axis runs a volunteer programme throughout the year, which sees volunteers giving their time to achieve the Learning in Reach dream by serving as mentors to ECD centres. This contribution is only one part of the role they played this year, says Reid.
“Through this collaboration, the company purchased more than 1 000 books from Learning in Reach and their volunteers gift-wrapped the books and personalised them with motivational messages. The books have been gifted to children in Kraaifontein, Observatory, Khayelitsha Harare, Capricorn, Grassy Park and Seawinds, other beneficiaries.”
She adds: “Reading is the key to children unlocking their true potential and living a life of continual learning. South Africa has low levels of book ownership and a literacy crisis. Covid-19 has just exasperated the inequality in education, with the disruption in learning being far greater for those in marginalised communities.”
This year’s book is titled There’s a Lion in my Tummy.
It was especially written to teach young children tools to deal with feelings of trauma.
The book was written as a tool for their Trauma-Informed ECD project where teachers are trained to connect and better support children dealing with trauma. It is also available on a buy-one, donate-one basis to raise additional funding for Learning in Reach’s ECD and Safe Circle programmes.
The funds raised by Learning in Reach from the book sale have gone towards training 13 Safe Circle mentors to facilitate trauma-informed family programmes and support families through these trying times. Safe Circle families were identified during the hard lockdown to receive food parcels and learning resources, including books to keep children busy.
“We are developing these Safe Circles further with trained mentors to facilitate a healing process.”