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READING THEIR WAY INTO A WIDER WORLD

After working for a year in Amaoti at Susan Ncgobo School, the international outreach group, Project TEN, undertook the refurbishing of a small room at the school as a library. They had been introduced to the school through The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme which then took up the challenge to see the shelves filled with books. A total of almost 500 books has now been donated to the fledgling library through the amazing response to the appeal put out. The students at Akiva College were particularly generous in their response to the appeal. Said Cameron Wulfsohn, head of Akiva’s Executive Committee for Outreach, “We are privileged to be able to know the books we have given will help the pupils at the school in the great adventure of being able to read.” Accepting the books, Mrs Swazi Shebangu, Principal of Susan Ncgobo, said they were part of the answer to a long-held dream to see a library facility established at the school.

Where only a month earlier the shelves had been almost empty of reading material, Mrs Amanda Mthetwa, school librarian, is now anxiously wondering where she will put any more books which might be donated. But it is a wonderful challenge to have. The community’s great generosity has resulted in reading books suitable for Grade R through to Grade 7 now virtually filling the shelves to capacity. The library is in need of English dictionaries to help the older pupils who are puzzled by unfamiliar words, and isiZulu story books for the children in the lower grades who are taught in their mother tongue. The library space also could do with bean bags and cushions for the young learners while they enjoy their story times and anyone who may have a spare bookcase (preferably metal, but not essential) will know that it will find an excellent home there. If you are able to help us with any of these items, please contact Leigh-Ann Stevens (leigh-ann@domino.org.za).

The vision is growing for the library to become a fuller resource centre for the school where teachers can access teaching materials like posters and charts for their lessons. Staff are being canvassed for their input on what materials would be useful. This would be an excellent opportunity for volunteers with The Domino Foundation to research and produce these materials. Two volunteers with excellent credentials in the area of libraries and literacy are already on board. David Hellinger, with thirty years in tertiary education behind him and involvement with various reading-oriented programmes, and retired librarian, Frances Callan, have already had input into the effective running of the new library and have vision for ways in which to develop the facility into one which effectively resources the community at Susan Ngcobo. Frances has cast her expert eye over volumes which have been donated and has seen that there is a need for non-fiction books suitable for Grades 6 and 7 dealing with the following subjects: South African history post 1994; inventions; science; ecology; computers; the history and geography of Africa. Books in isiZulu for all levels from Grade R to Grade 7 are also desperately needed. For any of these or for information on any aspect of Life Skills activities, please get in touch with Leigh-Ann on leigh-ann@domino.org.za.