Edupeg has partnered with two organisations, Action Volunteers Africa (AVA) and the Shine Trust (Shine), to pilot the ‘LiteraSEA Project’ (Shine, Edupeg, AVA). The purpose of this project is to improve the literacy levels and reading skills of 272 Grade 2 learners in three Edupeg supported primary schools in Gugulethu: Xolani, Insthinga, and Mseki Primary School. The LiteraSEA Project is a pilot project which will run over five months until the end of 2015.
This project will be implemented by 20 carefully selected LiteraSEA volunteers. These volunteers are previously unemployed youth from the surrounding communities of Gugulethu, some of whom are past pupils at the schools they are now supporting, and will receive a small stipend during this time. The volunteers have been trained to implement Shine’s methodology of paired and shared reading with Grade 2 learners in these schools. They are a fantastic group of youth who are excited and eager about the project and what it means to their future and their communities. The books utilized for this project have been carefully selected to complement Grade 2 reading age and are housed in a portable Shine book cabinet.
During the school week the volunteers will give each Grade 2 learner one hour of individual support to improve their reading ability. This time is extremely beneficial to these learners and in support of the Grade 2 teachers, who often don’t have the time to give learners individual attention. This will be an opportunity to ensure that all Grade 2 learners develop a love of reading. It will also give an opportunity to the LiteraSEA volunteers to understand the value of teaching a child to read. Volunteers will administer the Word Age Reading Test during the first and last week of the pilot to assess the impact of the project on learners’ literacy skills.
In addition to the time spent with learners at the respective schools, the volunteers will also be supported by AVA with self-development workshops throughout the project. The aim at the end of this time is that they would have gained some valuable work experience as well as the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution towards schools in their community. All LiteraSEA volunteers have been through a rigorous and intensive training and vetting process at AVA. The volunteers are fully supported by two head interns from AVA.
This project will be complimented by the implementation of Edupeg’s teacher mentorship programme in all three schools. Edupeg has played a crucial role in establishing strong relations between all organisations, the Western Cape Education Department and the staff and administration of each school. The respective schools have also prepared for this project by attending various meetings in the planning phase. They have designated project rooms for the learners and volunteers to carry out the project. Edupeg has also been responsible for making sure that these designated rooms have been well decorated and are a warm and inviting environment for the LiteraSEA volunteers and the Grade 2 learners that they will be supporting.
To celebrate the launch of this project we held Mandela Day celebrations at Xolani Primary School on July 17th which saw the attendance of all the volunteers, representatives from Shine, Edupeg and AVA, Vanessa Minnaar from the Western Cape Education Department, Chris Mingo from the HCI Foundation and principals and staff from each school. As Mandela was a leading activist for Education we saw this as a fitting day to officially launch the LiteraSEA Project.
Thereafter everyone met up again at Mzoli’s Place, a local favourite specializing in shisa nyama, to celebrate the launch of the project. Mzoli himself also generously contributed towards the cost of our delicious meal. Despite the cold and rather miserable weather, everyone was in high spirits and the enthusiasm about the prospects of the project was palpable.
This project is in the true spirit of collaboration and is the collective vision of three organisations coming together for the common good of all the learners and youth in our care. It is our vision that this project will support our schools in obtaining improved literacy skills for their learners and simultaneously give 20 youth a chance to gain some valuable work experience and a head start towards a brighter future.
Intshinga School project space with proud staff members, volunteers, Edupeg staff & Vanessa Minnaar from the WCED