Holy Cross Primary in District Six and a few of their author and NGO friends, are appealing to Capetonians to support their fundraising campaign to rebuild the school library in the wake of a devastating fire in February. Their mission is to double the literacy rate at the school through this intervention.
Local celebrity authors such as Lauren Beukes, Mohale Mashigo and Rob van Vuuren and a few NGOs are hosting a fundraiser for the school on Wednesday 12 June 2019, at 6pm at the Craft + Graft gallery and co-working space, at 2 Gordon Street, Dunkley Square, Gardens. Tickets are available at the door and online on Quicket. There will be a band, canapes, spoken word by the authors and an art auction and Snapscan facilities to raise funds.
The art from Artist Proof Studio includes pieces by renowned local artists such as William Kentridge, Mongezi Ncaphayi and Judith Woodborne.
The goal is to rebuild the Liyabona Learning Centre, a space that will serve as a compact multi-functional library, e-learning, aftercare and meeting space for 520 learners, to replace a number of crucial facilities that were lost in the fire.
The new space is named after Liyabona Mbaba, a Grade 1 learner who died in a taxi tragedy on his way to school last year. Most of the Grade R to 7 learners are from disadvantaged backgrounds and commute long distances to school every day.
“This is too important to ignore. We need your help. If you have ever found solace in the pages of a book you have to get involved,” said comedian, actor and children’s book author Rob van Vuuren.
Beukes, the award-winning author of books such as Zoo City and The Shining Girls, feels strongly about libraries. “Books open doors, to other lives and experiences. Stories help us understand who we are - and who we can be. Libraries expand worlds.”
The Otto Foundation, a local literacy-focused public benefit organisation that works with schools in District Six, is spearheading the campaign to rebuild the library. They have partnered with local child-centered design studio SeeSawDo, national library NGO The Bookery, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Cape Town, and others to get the project off the ground.
Otto Foundation project director Karen Breytenbach said all the NGOs involved had already maxed out their budgets to get the library project this far.
“We’re halfway there. We’re so close, and now we need Cape Town’s help. The end is in sight - all we need is R100 000 more for things like shelves, desks, electrics, doors, windows, and very importantly, dignified toilets.
“With only 10% of SA schools having functioning libraries and the country facing a massive literacy crisis - ranking lowest of 50 countries in a recent global literacy study by the University of Pretoria - we need to prioritise libraries and literacy to make a socio-economic breakthrough in SA. This library will be a safe, stimulating space for learning, building self-esteem, self-reliance and social capital, where children can dream big and broaden their world view. It’s important and worth everyone’s support.”
The organisation already has a successful track record: “At our other library, the Sunflower Learning Centre, on the Zonnebloem College Estate in District Six, the kids’ average literacy level at Grade 3 went from about 40% before they had the library to about 80% the year after it opened. It was a combination of factors that led to this breakthrough. Our librarians, colleagues at Shine Literacy and The Bookery, the teachers, principals, visiting authors like Rob and Lauren, and many volunteers who work with the kids weekly, all made the difference. We know we can do the same at Holy Cross.”
FROM THE ASHES: This is a concept sketch for the new library at Holy Cross Primary. The school needs R100 000 to finish Phase 1, a library and aftercare space. They will later add a digital media room.