Ubank donates books in Lusikisiki to spark curiosity, literacy and a passion for imagination among the youth
Illiteracy is a stumbling block to the economic and academic growth of any country. For a fighting chance at success citizens have to be able to read and write.
Realising the need for this, Ubank, in partnership with the US-African Children’s Fellowship and the Teba Trust Fund, donated a couple of containers filled with books to the OR Tambo Coastal Region. This partnership started six years ago with eight beneficiary schools across South Africa at the time. Over the years, beneficiaries have continued to be selected by the Department of Basic Education in the relevant provinces.
“This donation, made through the Department of Basic Education to public schools in this mainly rural part of the country is an effort to fan the flames of curiosity, literacy, imagination and education among the youth,” says Ubank CEO, Luthando Vutula.
The handover, which took place at Lusikisiki earlier this week saw 40 public schools as beneficiaries. “We envisage this donation assisting 20 000 pupils in total,” says Vutula.
“The aim is for these schools to establish functioning libraries on their premises and to harness the beauty of stories and education through this donation,” he says.
Reports in the media over the past few years have given heed to the poor levels of literacy in South Africa. The country’s pupils either struggle to read on par with reading levels for their age group or lack appropriate resources and infrastructure to this end. According to Statistics South Africa functional illiteracy declined from 27.3% in 2002 to 13.7% in 2017. An improvement worth applauding though more efforts are still necessary to further improve on these statistics especially for young people yet to venture out into the world.
Vutula says Ubank is aware of its target market and is constantly looking for ways to improve their lives in and outside the financial sector and more especially within their communities.
“The late Nelson Mandela once said: ‘No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated’. The donations of these structures and books to the OR Tambo community is an effort at catalysing development for young minds everywhere. It is a reminder that education and a healthy imagination are still the key to success. As Ubank we will continue offering our assistance in such communities,” says Vutula.
” I am very delighted to be part of this initiative. Ubank Ltd always encourages us to support community based projects.I believe this project will encourage learners to develop good reading habits.We have a responsibility as a bank to help those that are less fortunate.” said Lusikisiki branch manager Simphiwe Cingo
Part of the support for this donation was the training that was provided to the teacher-librarians at the 40 beneficiary schools. The have resources that will guide them in setting up and running a library
Ubank also has a Bridge project or Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning (RACHEL) a device, developed by NGO based in California, which creates a WIFI spot allowing up to 50 devices to connect and access a digital collection of educational resources downloaded from the internet. These resources include Wikipedia, Khan Academy, textbooks, hundreds of other books, and many more (https://store.worldpossible.org). The resources are accessed by smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs and are downloaded and then used by teachers in classrooms over a wide geographical area.
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