During a recent holiday in the Western Cape, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit two schools on the outskirts of Cape Town and see for myself what a difference our books make.
Having been a volunteer with School Aid for over 5 years and being involved in helping recruit new volunteers, as well as writing news items on the website, my husband and I were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the newly opened Kewtown School Library and Heatherdale Primary School Library. Susie Moffatt, a volunteer with both School Aid and The Bookery, met us at Kewtown School and introduced us to the new Library Assistant, Tasna, who is doing a fantastic job of teaching the children how to behave in a library and getting them used to sitting quietly and how to take care of the books. The children we saw were sitting in the reading area, whilst waiting to be assessed by Shine Literacy, as part of their literacy support programme. They were delighted to have two willing storytellers and within minutes my husband and I were both surrounded by some very excited children, each wanting us to read the books that they had chosen. Suzie explained that they were building a small stage in the library which will be used for the children to act out the stories in the books. There was a terrific buzz to the school and a sense of disbelief that they had such a wonderful facility.
We also had the opportunity to visit Heatherdale School Library, opened in 2015. This library was well established and a great success. We met Sean Geldenhuys, Library Assistant, who has been responsible for promoting reading for leisure and creating educational possibilities within the community. He was also providing help and support to Tasna in her new role at Kewtown School and, according to Suzie, he had been of invaluable help with regard to IT issues.
Suzie did say that they were short of Primary Fiction books, as can be seen from the photo above, so I promised that I would spread the word back in the UK for more books!