For 36 years, the READ Educational Trust has specialised in educator development with a strong focus on literacy, language and communication. It’s their belief that such ECD (early childhood development) interventions are the keys to individual and nationwide prosperity. For this reason, this trust was chosen as Your Next Million’s latest NGO winner, receiving a cheque of R50 000.
“A cheque of such a substantial amount is a wonderful blessing,” says Lizelle Langford, PR and Fundraising Manager for the NPO. “This means more books for the children, more support for the teachers and also being able to address those needs we never have enough funding for.”
READ’s mission is to help people throughout southern Africa become “independent life-long learners” through the development of their reading, writing and communication skills. This aligns strongly with our purpose of driving progress on the continent; READ is showing individuals and communities the way to their NEXT through their activities: according to Dzingai Mutumbuka, Chairman of the Association for Education in Africa, low levels of literacy can impede the economic development of a country, especially in this rapidly changing, technology-driven world. He’s said that education and literacy offer an escape from poverty by directly contributing to growth, and increasing equity and social justice. In turn, this leads to stability, which improves a country’s investment climate.
Undoubtedly, the READ Educational Trust can be regarded as a champion of economic development. Not only does the NGO train teachers in ECD and support children in its associated schools throughout South Africa, it also delivers life-skills training to young people about to enter the workforce, and presentation, communication and conflict-resolution skills to those already on the career path.
Lizette says READ’s game-show winnings will be mostly put to use at Louw Wepener Primary School in the Free State, one of a cluster of schools that the non-profit works with.
“Here, most learners speak Sotho as a home language, but have limited access to books in that language. In grade 4, they’ll change to English, which takes a tremendous effort from them, their teachers and requires external support. Without enough material to encourage vocabulary development in a first and second language, and spark an interest in reading, it’s almost impossible to achieve success.” Lizette shares that the donation from Your Next Million will contribute to giving Louw Wepener Primary School’s children English and home-language books in a variety of genres, which they can read for enjoyment or reference.
“Thank you for caring about our children and the challenges they face to become literate, Standard Bank. Only with the support from donors with a conscience will we be able to make a difference in their lives.”