July 30, 2008


a non-profit organization called help2read has been in South Africa for 3 years. this is the first year it's no longer a pilot project and is really gaining ground at the grassroots level. a friend and i have just gone through the training and were asked to begin at a school that has just joined the list of schools being served. we will each help 2 children 2 times a week for a whole school year. the aim is to help, not teach, children with their reading. the program is set up exactly like a program in England that has been running successfully for over 35 years.

after the training, i felt renewed with insightful tools to guide and facilitate the learning process with the children. the child must choose something of his/her own interest from a wide variety of materials in the help2read box -- the box contains a full range of new books and all kinds of learning and fun materials and games. the educator must be flexible and only encouraging with praise. it must be fun and full of listening and sharing. this box of materials provides an enriching and beautiful supply of books, activities and games which most of the children do not even find at their school, their home, or their neighborhood. there are 100,000's of children here, from backgrounds where English is the second language, who have no libraries in their neighborhoods, and who have no means by which to purchase books (the price for a book in South Africa is very expensive!). most of them have no adult to read them a book, and so a program like this is already making a difference in the lives of the children it has served.

as more and more volunteers arise to serve the children of South Africa, a whole new generation of children will begin to read well and be ready to advance along the path of higher education. the masses of children in South Africa still don't have the opportunity of a good education, but programs like this one provide hope and a vision of eradicating illiteracy as it spreads. i'm hoping to be a part of the process of seeing a child's eyes light up with confidence and self-esteem as reading becomes a natural talent in his life.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful project! I know you will find it very rewarding. Can they use additional materials? I'll be glad to forward some books to add to the collection. :-)