“ The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr. Seuss , I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Reading corners on each floor of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital to enable children to expand their world beyond their hospital bed
SA Taxi Foundation has partnered with iRead Africa to establish two reading corners on each floor of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.
The hospital is the largest, public, stand-alone tertiary hospital dedicated entirely to child health care in southern Africa. It manages some 260 000 patient visits each year, with most of its patients coming from exceptionally poor and marginalised communities within South Africa and the rest of the continent. One third of its patients are younger than one year. No child is turned away.
“We were attracted by iRead Africa’s proposal to us for this project because we believe that education is the single most powerful transformational agent,” says SA Taxi Foundation director, Kalnisha Singh. “However, education is impossible without literacy. So, inculcating in children a love of reading is profoundly important.
“All the more so because, according to a recent survey by UNESCO in 2015, 40% of all children in sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 15 cannot read. These children will not be able to enter the modern workplace and the continent’s transformation will be delayed further.
“Our education system is falling short even on the basics and the vast majority of parents simply don’t have the means to buy literary books for their children. So, children are not being introduced to the wider world – beyond text books – of fantasy and imagination and the vast reservoir of humanity’s written creativity. iRead Africa fills that gap.”
iRead Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), offers a number of options for children to access literary resources, including helping government with the establishment of school libraries and creating reading corners in crèches and community centres in underserviced areas.
“The books that are provided by iRead Africa’s partner, Kruger Publications, are literary rather than directly educational works. So, they’ll feel like entertainment, making them more attractive to the children who access them. By placing reading corners in each ward, therefore, one opens up the possibility of encouraging some adults to read, too.”
The launch of the reading corners at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital on Friday 27th May 2016 included readings to children by TLB Kruger from his first book in a Mindfulness series, ‘Prince of Gold’.
Singh foresees this initial partnership between SA Taxi Foundation and iRead Africa continuing in other budget years. “We value the initiative because it has the potential to activate creative instincts in this country’s children, equipping them to take us all forward into a positive future.”
“ Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
Stephen King , On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft