The Latest

3 Ways We're Extending Nelson Mandela's REACH

2 MINUTE READ

| July 09, 2018

Celebrate Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday is July 18, 2018.

Nelson Mandela was the first in his family to receive a formal education, and he dedicated his life to ensure all South Africans would have access to this basic human right. Today on his 100th birthday, the need for his work remains. South Africa’s education sector reflects the country's ever-present social inequalities as young black Africans face significantly worse infrastructural school environments and access to quality educational materials.

Since launching our Literacy Program in South Africa, we have seen tremendous growth in early grade learners. Yet, with 80 percent of South African schools lacking libraries, there’s still a great need for more storybooks in a wider variety of languages to ensure communities speaking African languages have abundant learning materials. With the support of The World Bank and the Results in Education for All Children trust, our REACH project aims to do just that and more.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

Here are three key ways this project is carrying out Nelson Mandela’s legacy:

1. Better Together

Our REACH project has allowed Room to Read, the South African government, publishers and NGOs throughout the country to collaborate in a groundbreaking way. For the first time ever, these key stakeholders came together to work collaboratively, establishing recommendations on how to make an engaging South African storybook for early readers.

These recommendations are being shared widely across the country to ensure that books developed and purchased for children are high quality.

 

2. Quality and quantity – who says you can’t have both?

Room to Read knows the content and design of a storybook matters. This new endeavor will enable us to pass that knowledge and the insight collected from the public-private partnership on to local publishers to create 20 titles in five African languages, resulting in 100 new stories.

Additionally, 65,500 copies of these books will be distributed to three key provinces throughout South Africa: Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

3. Representation Matters

It’s powerful to see yourself in stories, but very few South African children's books exist for those who don't speak English or Afrikaans. To address this gap, South African authors will create titles in five native languages: isiZulu, Tshivenda, Sepedi, Siswati and Xitsonga.   

Publishing stories in local languages by local authors will better resonate with children and also give more communities access to books in their mother tongue.

We’re incredibly excited about this two-year project and can’t wait to share updates along the way!

Want more empowering stories in your inbox? Get inspired here.

Related Articles

4 Things You Need to Know about Education in South Africa


July 17, 2018

Literacy, South Africa

Read More >

5 Ways Room to Read is Improving Worldwide Literacy


August 03, 2017

Literacy, India

Read More >

Turning South African Readers into Tomorrow’s Leaders


July 10, 2017

Literacy, South Africa

Read More >

Growing a Love of Reading in South Africa


November 03, 2016

Literacy, Africa

Read More >

#ThankstoEducation I Can Use My Skills to Encourage Kids to Read


November 07, 2015

Literacy, Africa

Read More >

As a Child, Reading Meant Getting a Lashing if She Made a Mistake. Now Nomonde E...


August 26, 2015

Literacy, South Africa

Read More >

How You Can Graduate From Primary School and Still Be Illiterate


May 21, 2015

Literacy, Africa

Read More >

The Results Are In: Libraries Matter.


March 14, 2015

Literacy, India

Read More >

He was a teacher in Soweto during the student uprising: Here's what he has to sa...


June 20, 2014

Literacy, South Africa

Read More >

Meet Phumza: Volunteer Teacher and Witness to South Africa's Future


December 23, 2013

Literacy, Africa

Read More >

Guest Blog from South Africa: Witnessing Real Impact in South Africa


September 10, 2013

Literacy, Africa

Read More >

Video Blog: Taking Literacy to New Heights in South Africa


August 16, 2013

Literacy, Africa

Read More >

In South Africa's Eastern Cape, Library Doors Open up a World of Opportunity for...


January 11, 2013

Literacy, South Africa

Read More >

Invest in children's education today.