In 2015 Edupeg saw an opportunity to strengthen its literacy support to schools and sought out partners to realise this objective. Edupeg 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 Grade 2 learners.
In 2015 the project was piloted in three schools in Gugulethu and due to its success and support of the project by the schools we have now scaled the project to eight schools in total; five schools in Gugulethu: Intshinga, Xolani, Luzuko, Vuyani and Litha Primary and three schools in Khayelitsha: Homba, Sivile and Soyisile Primary. The project was rolled out at these schools after much reflection and collaborating with all partners to share lessons learned to improve upon the pilot.
This project is being implemented by 53 carefully selected LiteraSEA volunteers. These volunteers are previously unemployed youth from the surrounding communities and will receive a small stipend during this time. The volunteers have been trained to implement Shine’s methodology of paired and shared reading and literacy games, which are new to this project, with Grade 2 learners in these schools. The books utilized for this project have been carefully selected to complement Grade 2 reading age and are housed in a portable Shine cabinet. In Term 3 the volunteers will also implement Shine’s ‘Have-a-go-writing’ to improve the learners’ writing abilities. All reading and activities are done in both home language and English.
All volunteers partner up with a prescribed number of learners at their respective schools and their aim is to work with the same learners for one hour every week which creates the opportunity for strong bonds between learners and volunteers to be created.
The 53 volunteers have been integrated and welcomed into all schools and made to feel part of the staff. This project would not be possible without the support and warm welcome of the project by the Principal and teachers at each of these schools. They have also provided the volunteers with a space in which to carry out this project, which isn’t always easy as schools are often limited when it comes to space, but they all made a plan and the spaces have been turned into a conducive learning environment by the volunteers who have taken proud ownership of their space in their respective schools.
This project not only provides an employment opportunity for the volunteers, but also the opportunity and exposure to experience what it is like to work in a school environment, working with children and helping them to read. The volunteers are also supported three times a week through self-development and work related sessions. We would like to see all of these volunteers to go on and be placed in meaningful work opportunities and most importantly, pursue a career in teaching or education.
With the support of the schools and the dedication of the volunteers we aim to improve the learners’ literacy levels and instil a love of reading.