Rally to Read brings literacy to primary schools
The Bidvest Rally to Read initiative visited schools recently to tackle the problems of inadequate literacy, especially in rural areas. Inadequate literacy prevents children from obtaining a good education and therefore Rally to Read was developed to improve reading, writing and general communication.
During the Rally to Read, corporate South Africa has the opportunity to work together to change the lives of rural schoolchildren in partnership with the Department of Education and the READ Educational Trust. 12 schools were visited by the corporate companies that bought sponsorships.
Each sponsor donated two library boxes and R1,000 for learners’ lunches. The sponsorship also includes teacher training. The literacy materials in the library boxes were developed by the READ Educational Trust according to the standards of the Revised National Curriculum of the Department of Basic Education. Grade R learners received books and educational toys sponsored by Mercedes-Benz to prepare them for foundation-phase schooling.
Rally to Read was established 12 years ago by Bidvest as one of the company’s flagship corporate social investment initiatives to provide educational resources to disadvantaged primary schools. In 2013 Rally to Read reached 1,358 teachers and 40,581 pupils. This educational initiative started in 1998 when the Human Sciences Research Council approached Bidvest subsidiary, McCarthy, for help to reach some of the most remote rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal to study school resources.
Bidvest manages the entire programme and sponsors the management, administration and logistics costs to ensure that donations from sponsors go straight to the children who need it in the form of box libraries and other sponsored material.
“We were very excited to meet the learners, parents and teachers of schools and to work shoulder-to-shoulder with corporate sponsors to make a real difference to South Africa’s educational needs. Bidvest is proud to be part of this initiative that will ultimately equip children to become economically active citizens of this country when they are older,” says Gillian McMahon, executive director of Bidvest South Africa.
The schools assisted have principals who are strong leaders who need help with libraries and teacher training, monitoring and evaluation.