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World Book Day – “Readers become leaders”

Marking the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, World Book Day is celebrated annually all over the world on 23 April. To highlight the day and raise awareness around the lack of access to books in impoverished areas in South Africa, NGO Breadline Africa will open a container library at Gilonki Secondary School, situated in Eqakwini Reserve, a rural community on the outskirts of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

“Reading is critical,” project manager for Breadline Africa, Puleng Phooko said. “The Gilonki secondary learners are all working towards writing their matric examinations in the not so distant future, however working towards achieving this goal is difficult when there is no access to extra reading material that supports teaching or learning at the school.”

Running on limited resources, Gilonki Secondary School took the initiative to set up a reading club to promote reading and literacy, with library monitors in a temporary structure on the school grounds. “The container library is the first solid structure set up in recognition of the hard work they put into promoting reading and literacy in their school”, Phooko said.

Breadline Africa has provided over 180 containers to poverty stricken communities since their establishment in 1993. The NGO specialises in renovating disused shipping containers and recycling them for essential community purposes. Breadline Africa, were recently awarded the Community Organisation Award for their work in townships and deprived rural areas throughout South Africa, at the South African Achiever’s Awards, which were held in London on 17 April.

“We buy sturdy, water-tight containers at a low cost and transform them into mobile structures. Our projects try to establish a level of self-sustainability within the community,” Phooko said. Each library costs on average R160 000 to refurbish.

Despite the challenges of accessing books, publishing agencies and companies have come through to help with the book collection, sorting and distribution. Biblionef were able to provide some support for the Gilonki container opening, however more books are needed to ensure that the library is fully stocked.

“The success of the initiative relies entirely on the support of parents, community members  and corporates. We encourage everyone to get involved and help in some way,” Phooko said. “In the words of Tata Mandela ‘readers become leaders’ – this is the very ethos of container initiatives such as this one.”

For more information and to get involved in container initiatives email or call 021 418 0322.


Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications

Beverley Houston

021 462 1723 / 082 824 8617


On behalf of Breadline Africa

Director: Tim Smith

Project Manager: Puleng Phooko

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