Posted 29 March 2023

Ford SA and Rally to Read Strengthens Education and Literacy in Nelson Mandela Bay

  • Ford Motor Company donates R1.36-million to the READ Educational Trust to fund the second year of the Rally to Read programme  in Gqeberha
  • This year for the first time the rally includes a digital literacy element within the READ programme
  • Project supports the same eight schools in underprivileged areas in Nelson Mandela Bay over three years, benefitting around 4, 100 primary school learners

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA, 25 March 2023 – The Ford Motor Company of South Africa has once again partnered with the READ Educational Trust in the Eastern Cape, by donating much needed funds to the Rally to Read programme. This year, the programme will include a digital literacy element, for the first time.

Ford has a long association with Rally to Read and the latest project is the result of another R1,360 million grant by Ford aimed at bolstering education and literacy in the province. The Rally to Read will benefit around 4,085 learners and 124 teachers at eight schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. This is part of a three-year initiative which commenced in 2022. This year marks year two of a three year collaboration between Ford and Rally to Read.

“We are delighted to once again support the amazing work that Rally to Read does across the country, and it is wonderful to focus on Nelson Mandela Bay where Ford South Africa’s legacy started in 1923, and where our Struandale Engine Plant is located in Gqeberha,” said Neale Hill, president Ford Motor Company Africa.

“With South Africa’s high levels of poverty and unemployment, the most important tools that we have to empower and uplift the people of this country are education and literacy. Youth unemployment is one of South Africa’s most serious challenges, and our involvement with READ Educational Trust and the Rally to Read plays an important role in our efforts to tackle these issues head-on,” added Hill.

The academic material this year is focused on the Intermediate Phase, ranging from grade 4 to grade 7, and is prepared and supplied by the READ Educational Trust. It consists of story books, multi-coloured box libraries containing reading books of various genres, as well as smart projectors.

The programme continues to work with eight schools;David Vuku Lower Primary School, Nomathamsanqa Primary School, WB Tshume Primary School, Mzomtsha Public Primary School, Elukholweni Farm School, Rocklands Intermediate School, Empumalanga School and Nkuthalo Public Primary School.

The digital literacy program that is being implemented for the first time this year will help facilitate better learning opportunities for scholars. Smart projectors will be utilised to promote a multi-faceted learning experience by using infographics, streaming online videos and accessing web browsers for real-time information during lessons, to modernise the learning experience.

Rally to Read is a social investment activity under the READ Educational Trust and has achieved a meaningful impact on South Africa’s educational system over the past 25 years. It facilitates teacher training thanks to dedicated READ trainers, who monitor and mentor teachers on literacy and language methodologies. This is done in conjunction with the Department of Basic Education’s subject advisers and school district offices. Teachers receive the necessary training, and READ field staff make regular visits to provide support.

The Read programme strives to target learner literacy development by distributing curated educational books with the purpose of nurturing learners’ intellect.

According to READ, the Eastern Cape traditionally has the lowest Matric results in the country, with many schools remaining under-resourced with a shortage of textbooks and learning material well into the academic year. The province is one of the poorest in the country, and hunger and poverty are a reality for many. By providing educational opportunities we hope to break the cycle and bring positive change.

“Funding this project and being hands-on with delivering the books and educational materials to the schools allows us the opportunity to all make a difference. A solid educational foundation is needed in the early years in formal schooling, and should then be cemented and strengthened through the rest of primary school. When learners enter high school, learners need academic as well as the conversational English language skills to cope with subject learning.

“Through this partnership, we hope to inspire children to develop a love for reading and receiving knowledge that they can carry through to their adult years. Our association with the READ Educational Trust dates back to 1999, and it is one we are incredibly proud of as it makes a real difference to the lives of both the learners and teachers,” concluded Hill.

For more information on Rally to Read and the READ Educational Trust,  click here:

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Original Article: Ford Dealerview