Silverlea Primary School, located in Silvertown, Athlone, is home to 840 children between the ages of 6 – 13, who received a new six-metre reading room on Friday, 14 September 2018.
This is the second time that Silverlea Primary has reached out to Breadline Africa for support, having received a container kitchen in November 2017, from which meals are prepared and served daily to 380 children who require nutritional support.
Breadline Africa M&E and Partnerships Manager, Diane Laugksch, told the children hat it was a great pleasure to be able to hand-over the reading room on behalf of Mrs Doreece Walker, from the United Kingdom, who had visited Cape Town on a number of occasions. In 2010, Mrs Walker (pictured below) advised that she was leaving a gift in her will and sadly passed away in 2017 at the age of 102. Breadline Africa and her daughter Jane Latham, felt that the best way to honour her legacy would be to fund the Silverlea Primary School Reading Room. Mrs Walker was an avid reader and read two books a week until the age of 99, when she lost her eyesight.
Lynn Campbell, Operational Director at help2read encouraged the children to read every day and reminded them that reading does not stop at school. The former school principal (and current Breadline Africa Trustee), Mrs Sandy Daniels (pictured top left) thanked all volunteers who – for years – have been supporting learner literacy development at the school and, also acknowledged the support of Old Mutual Wealth in setting up the library nooks that continue to be used and valued by the children. Breadline Africa Trustees, Pippa and Tony Smythe, who are currently visiting South Africa from the UK, were able to attend the hand-over celebration which included an incredible dance routine and superb acting.
While Silverlea Primary School has never had a dedicated library, the school has been very creative in its efforts to ensure that learners have easy access to books. What is fondly referred to by teachers and children as “reading nooks”, shelf space has been created under stairwells and in corridors to house the school’s literacy resources. Bean bags, posters on walls and comfortable seating provide an enticing space where children may pull out a book and simply read for pleasure, whether before school, during break time or at the end of the school day.
The reading room aims to expand the space available to the children so that they may access books and other resource material, while literacy-support volunteers will provide daily one-on-one reading support.