Donation Promotes Hospitalised Childrens’ Access to Literature
A donation of books to spruce up the mobile library at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital was well received.
The mobile library was launched in 2010 and relies on donations to keep it going.
A partnership between the SA Taxi Foundation and iRead Africa ensured a donation of 200 new children’s books in all three of the official provincial languages – Afrikaans, English and Xhosa.
The mobile library, managed by the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (FOCHA), enables patients and their families to make use of the books on offer. Volunteers from FOCHA also utilise these books during their play volunteering sessions in the wards where they read aloud to patients to promote early literacy skills.
FOCHA is a voluntary support organisation to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital that depends solely on the support of the community and believes that physical and emotional healing work simultaneously. Their main intention is to relieve the patient’s boredom and to help make their stay in hospital a bit easier.
"We were attracted by iRead Africa’s proposal to us for this project because we believe that education is the single most powerful transformational agent," says SA Taxi Foundation Director, Kalnisha Singh. "However, education is impossible without literacy. So, inculcating in children a love of reading is profoundly important. All the more so because, according to a recent survey by UNESCO in 2015, 40% of all children in sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 15 cannot read. These children will not be able to enter the modern workplace and the continent’s transformation will be delayed further.
Our education system is falling short even on the basics and the vast majority of parents simply don’t have the means to buy literary books for their children. So, children are not being introduced to the wider world – beyond text books – of fantasy and imagination and the vast reservoir of humanity’s written creativity. iRead Africa fills that gap.”
iRead Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), offers a number of options for children to access literary resources, including helping government with the establishment of school libraries and creating reading corners in crèches and community centres in underserviced areas.
"The books that are provided by iRead Africa’s partner, Kruger Publications, are literary rather than directly educational works. So, they will feel like entertainment, making them more attractive to the children who access them."
The donation included a special reading to patients by TLB Kruger from his first book in a Mindfulness series, ‘Prince of Gold’.