The Axium Early Literacy Programme got an opportunity to reach more schools and areas through a partnership with the Community Works Programme (CWP) under the department of COGTA and their implementing agent, Thembalethu. The training of the first intake of participants took place at the Zithulele Community Centre and library. Seen below is an introductory activity called Early Memories where participants were asked to relive their early childhood by recalling and depicting storytelling scenes from their early childhood.
Our librarian, Ntlahla Nkqwili, shared his passion for making writing books from recycled paper with CWP participants. At the end of the training, the majority of the participants mentioned writing their own stories in the books they had made themselves as their favourite activity. They mentioned writing their own stories as a particularly motivating activity and were excited to show their siblings books authored by themselves. This is exactly the enthusiasm one hopes for in early literacy facilitators!
This partnership means more children can be reached and get a chance to hone their early literacy skills and improve their reading for meaning ability. Further, more teachers can be assisted in building strong foundations for both academic success and a critical outlook to life in the early stages of childhood. But most importantly, as our partners emphasised, some of the unemployed youth will get an opportunity which has the potential to shape their future prospects by increasing their employability and will allow them to become role models for children in their community. It is an opportunity for the participants’ personal growth and development through being part of a solution to the literacy crisis faced by the country in general, and specifically, in their own community.
Finishing the training means that we have an energetic group of people ready and eager to facilitate early literacy growth. This means we will be scaling our programme next year by adding three more schools in an area we would otherwise not afford to reach. We are appreciative of this initiative with our partners, CWP and Ithembalethu (the Implementing Agent), and are looking forward to a great working relationship with them next year as we learn together.
The training ended with each participant receiving a certificate of participation to acknowledge their efforts. Seen below is certificate giving ceremony with Axium facilitators and CWP participants in Lutubeni JSS, one of the Axium-CWP schools.