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Township Reader Campaign launched to help underprivileged in townships

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By Ashok Ramsarup:: South Africa will join the global community to celebrate International Literacy Day under the theme of ‘Literacy in a digital world’ in September.  In making a difference to the underprivileged, the AFRICAN SUN MEDIA has launched the Township Reader Campaign (TRC) at the Stellenbosch University, situated near Cape Town in the Western Province.

The TRC was launched on International Mandela Day to honour the leading icon and maintaining his legacy.  Nelson Mandela, who served 27 years on Robben Island, was the first non-white president in 1994. Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and lawyer.

AFRICAN SUN MeDIA   Director Nirode Bramdaw who pioneered the programme at the Stellenbosch University said the aim of the project was to provide free readers to be used for teaching children in the townships neighbouring Stellenbosch that were mired in poverty.

Bramdaw, who is a former newspaper editor and stalwart in the freedom struggle, said lawmakers, educators, and non-governmental organisations need to be reminded, as he put it, that literacy was a human right, African Sun Media in its efforts was to make a positive impact on society and transform lives.

“We have partnered with the University of Stellenbosch in a bid to break the cycle of poverty that had gripped communities for generations.  The only option was to promote literacy, mathematics and science skills, ultimately break the cycle of poverty in communities.

“The Township Reader Campaign is important which is in keeping with the state-of-the-nation address by  President Cyril Ramaphosa to implement the Early Grade Reading Programme,” said Bramdaw.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), about  774 million adults (15 years and older) cannot read or write. Two-thirds of them (493 million) were women.

In promoting the programme, Bramdaw urged the academic and student bodies of Stellenbosch University to volunteer and become foot soldiers in this war against poverty and illiteracy on Mandela Day.  He quoted Mandela’s words:  “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination, but when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”

In partnership with Stellenbosch University, AFRICAN SUN MeDIA will devise, design and print readers so that the disadvantaged learners can effectively address the literacy crisis that is endemic in South Africa.

Africa’s leading technology and services company Bytes Document Solutions Division Director Koos Ligtenberg stated:  “We are delighted to partner with AFRICAN SUN MeDIA on this very noble endeavour that seeks to change the lives of the less fortunate in society.  We will support the organisation with printing for their philanthropic efforts,” concluded Ligtenberg.

Centre for Student Recruitment and Career Advice Deputy Director – Dr Gillian Arendse – said aside from its core objective of combatting poverty via literacy, this initiative by AFRICAN SUN MeDIA brings together the various and varying efforts of the faculties within the university would be impactful and sustainable.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦 

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