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Mandela Day – take action, inspire change

Marking the 95th birthday of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, and the fourth Nelson Mandela International Day, the V&A Waterfront, together with Cape Town based NGOs Breadline Africa, the Lalela Project and the Shine Centre, hosted a Mandela Day event with learners from Alpine Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain.

“This is an opportunity for us to not only applaud but also support initiatives that honour Nelson Mandela’s humanitarian spirit,” David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, said.

Aimed at raising awareness around the 67 minutes for Mandela campaign, the event was attended by the Western Cape MEC for education, Donald Grant, who dedicated some of his 67 minutes to reading to learners from Alpine Primary.

The primary school will receive a Mandela Day container library, which has for the past 18 days been placed at the V&A Waterfront Clocktower. To date, Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory have placed 28 Mandela Day library containers in some of the most impoverished schools in South Africa. As a result of the partnership, more than 20 000 school children in rural areas, in all nine provinces, have been reached.

“Every school should have access to a library and every child should be able to read, write and be given the means to learn; sadly this is not the case in many schools across the country. The Mandela Day library container initiative needs the support of the general public and corporates. We encourage everyone to get involved and help in some way,” Programme Manager for Breadline Africa, Puleng Phooko said.

The rollout of each Mandela Day container library is entirely dependent on the support of corporate funding, with each container costing between R160 000 to R200 000 to recycle and refurbish. “Literacy and the right to education is a human right,” Phooko said. “We are grateful to The Westin Cape Town and the Macquarie Group, for their funding of the Alpine Primary school container. We hope to see many more Mandela Day libraries being rolled out over the next few years.”

According to an Annual National Assessment Report on Junior Education 2011, only 8% of public schools in South Africa have functional libraries, leaving approximately 16 000 schools without libraries. The national average performance in literacy stands at 35% among grade three pupils and at 28% for grade six. Over half of grade three and six pupils in South Africa are performing at a level below par with the curriculum requirements per grade. The Mandela Day library initiative aims to address this issue and welcomes support from members of the public and business.

ENDS

Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Beverley Houston

beverley@be-cause.co.za

021 462 1723 / 082 284 8617

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