First 466/64 Fashion-funded Mandela Day library opens
The first 466/64 Fashion-funded Mandela Day Library has been opened at Parkdene Primary school in the Western Cape.
It is the first of many projects that will be funded by the fashion brand that launched in South Africa in August 2011.
The newly opened Parkdene Primary School container library serves 1 307 learners, providing access to in excess of 3 000 books in a school situated in a poor and crime-affected area.
The library is constructed from a used steel shipping container that has been fully refurbished, insulated to be cool in summer and warm in winter, and has had secure windows and doors added. The library's interior provides a welcoming environment for learners, with shelves, a desk, chairs and other equipment.
“The vision has been to create a global fashion brand that can provide a sustainable income stream for 466/64 South Africa’s humanitarian work,” says Achmat Dangor, 466/64 Board Member.
“To have already reached the point where the first funds raised by 466/64 Fashion are being used to directly impact a community in real need is deeply satisfying.”
Adds Wayne Bebb, CEO of Brand ID: “What we are most proud of is our brand’s ability to generate income that 466/64 South Africa can put towards projects like this – ones that really impact the community we live in and that can change people’s lives.”
Breadline Africa, one of the biggest organisations for poverty relief in Southern Africa, has been integrally involved in getting the three libraries to schools situated in rural and poor communities.
“Literacy and the right to education is a human right,” Director of Breadline Africa, Tim Smith comments. “We believe that starting libraries is a lasting way to pay tribute to Mr Nelson Mandela’s legacy by continuing to open doors for children to read, learn and dream. The containers offer a cost-effective, quick way to start libraries at many schools in need.”
Among the library books stocked in the library at Parkdene Primary School, a school with majority Afrikaans speaking learners, are story books donated by Cambridge University Press, PanMacmillan and NB Publishers through an Avusa Education initiative.
Books to the value of R340 193.00, including copies of the Sunday Times Storybook, were collected and have been distributed to the 12 container libraries.
Child literacy organisation, Help2Read, also assisted in purchasing books for the libraries and will be mentoring and supporting it over the next few years as well as implementing a reading club at the school. Additional books were collected by Brand ID and its various partners and agencies for the library.
All books have been sorted, covered, labelled and catalogued using the latest computer software by The Bookery. Established in March 2010, as part of Equal Education’s ‘Campaign for School Libraries’, The Bookery is a Cape Town-based depot where books suitable for either primary or secondary school learners can be donated.
The project has been overseen by Cosmos Mabeya who says the books collected for Parkdene Primary Schoool’s library offer learners a broad section of fiction, non-fiction and reference books, across all ages of the school’s learners.
The Mandela Day Library Project 2012 takes its inspiration from Mr Nelson Mandela who said: “There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
The event was supported by South African songstress Lira, who sang to the learners and asked them to make a pledge to read a page a day.