(KwaZulu-Natal) – As the new term commenced for schools around South Africa on Wednesday the 19th of April 2017, the underprivileged learners of Sophunga Primary School in Inanda arrived on their second day back after the holidays to a wonderful surprise.
Their school now hosts a fully stocked library for the senior primary section, holding 1182 fiction and non-fiction books, and each junior primary classroom is now home to a beautiful bright reading corner with 60 books per class, totaling another 780 books! All the meticulously covered and accessioned books in the library and reading corners were thanks to the The LEARN Project, a local Durban-based non-profit organisation.
Imagine a school with no library and very few books for a large number of children. This is a harsh reality for many schools like Sophunga Primary School whose students often would have had very limited experience or engagement with books. The launch of the library, sponsored by AESSEAL and classroom book corners, sponsored by FMI, also couldn’t have come at a better time due to Sunday the 23rd of April being World Book Day.
Mr Zakhele Luthuli, Principal of Sophunga Primary School is delighted with the school’s new library and book corners. Luthuli believes it is just the boost the children needed heading into the new term.
“It is really wonderful to have initiatives like this that are carried out by The LEARN Project and supported by companies like AESSEAL and FMI. Having a library at an underprivileged school is often seen as a luxury, but in actual fact – it’s a necessity, and will create a real impact on the lives of our learners. We are humbled and grateful for the LEARN Project”, said Luthuli.
According to The LEARN Project’s research, schools have shown that learner marks have improved by up to 55% after equipping their schools with reading books. The LEARN Project currently collects and distributes children’s books and resources in the KZN region but the initiative is growing at a rapid rate and is sure to affect change nationally in the near future. Key members of schools are met and interviewed in order to determine the needs of the school and The LEARN Project works toward equipping the school with a fully functioning and sustainable library and classroom book corners that will last for generations to come.
Roslynne Toerien, Founder of The LEARN Project believes that “Readers Make Leaders” and with access to the wealth of information that books provide, children can thrive and strive for a brighter future.
“We are very grateful to our sponsors, like FMI, who make initiatives like this possible. Reading materials and resources are things that some of us take for granted on a regular basis. There is an enormous gap in the quality of education and a vast need for educational and reading resources for children within disadvantaged communities and that’s what makes The LEARN Project so important. I hope for a South Africa where all school’s have access to reading books so that all children may discover the joy of reading and gain knowledge in a fun and enjoyable way which will broaden their horizons, bring hope and create future leaders of our beautiful country,” stated Toerien.
Grace Winter, Marketing Manager at FMI added that the impact of The LEARN Project goes beyond the learners at the schools – touching the lives of their families, friends, teachers and ultimately the future of our country. “FMI strives to protect peoples dreams and their aspirations for the future, and this initiative with The LEARN Project allowed us to do just that. Providing the children of local schools with the resources they need to educate themselves and not only improve their lives and their own future, but the futures of their families and the country as well”, said Winter.
FMI has been a supporter of the LEARN Project for many years providing sponsorships, donations, and involvement in additional fund raising activities. FMI also hosts the LEARN Project’s book covering parties, librarian training and maths teacher workshops at their offices.