Here’s how local non-profit organisations are bringing the joy of reading to South African children

Lyanda from Pietermaritzburg was the recipient of the one millionth Book Dash book, seen here with Irene Steenkamp Pieters, the founder of the Santa Shoebox Project. (Image supplied/Giya Photography)
Lyanda from Pietermaritzburg was the recipient of the one millionth Book Dash book, seen here with Irene Steenkamp Pieters, the founder of the Santa Shoebox Project. (Image supplied/Giya Photography)

Local not for profit organisations MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and Book Dash has partnered with the Santa Shoebox Project to gift 100 000 books to children who receive Santa Shoeboxes this year. 

This collaboration comes at a time when many children living in under-resourced communities have even less than usual access to reading materials due to the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

This year also marks momentous milestones for both the Santa Shoebox Project and Book Dash, with the organisations each distributing their one millionth Santa Shoebox and book, respectively.

'Extremely proud'

"We are extremely proud to be able to provide educational and recreational books of the highest quality to these young children through this collaborative effort," says Pieter Twine, General Manager of MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet.

Book Dash’s innovative model presents partner organisations with the opportunity to fund a Book Dash event – a 12-hour sprint that sees volunteer creative teams write, illustrate, design, and edit books at no cost.

"Book Dash is thrilled that this partnership means that many thousands of children each year receive what is very likely their first books. For us as a social impact publisher, it’s a huge honour that this will also mark our one millionth book we’ve given to a child to own since we began in 2014," says Julia Norrish, Book Dash Executive Director. 

Find free resources for little readers in our STORYTIME hub!

'Creating magic in 2020'

Through a process of careful vetting, the Santa Shoebox Project signs up organisations that care for underprivileged children to receive Santa Shoeboxes for the children in their care. In addition to the books sponsored by MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and Book Dash, each bespoke Santa Shoebox includes a toothbrush and toothpaste, washcloth and soap, school stationery, a toy, sweets and an outfit of clothing, thereby catering for several aspects of a child’s well-being. 

"With the Santa Shoebox Project also reaching its millionth child, the synergy with Book Dash has created magic in 2020!" Concludes Deborah Zelezniak, CEO of the Santa Shoebox Project.

If you'd like to join MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and support Book Dash, the Santa Shoebox Project and other causes, visit or download the app

Submitted to Parent24 by Santa Shoebox Project. 


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