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Sunday, 5 May, 2002

Rally kick-starts rural reading drive

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister, who took part in the Rally to Read initiative in the Overberg from 4 - 5 May, 2002.

Drives to kick-start reading in rural areas took a leap forward over the weekend (4-5 May, 2002) when teams of sponsors in 4x4 vehicles delivered books worth about R200 000 to 25 schools in remote areas of the Overberg.

The Rally to Read drive was organised by the Read Education Trust, McCarthy Motor Holdings and the Financial Mail as part of a national initiative to encourage literacy in remote rural areas nationwide.

Twelve sponsors in the Western Cape donated R300 000 to the project, of which R200 000 was used to buy books, housed in 50, specially designed "box libraries", and R100 000, which will be used to finance 63 days of training and monitoring at the schools involved.

The organisers identified the schools with the help of the Western Cape Education Department.

It was an exhilarating experience to see the faces of the educators and learners when we arrived in these remote locations, with the boxes of learning materials.

This rally was the third in a series of Rallies to Read. It is clear that the initiative is making a major difference to the reading skills of the children at these schools. They read to us, and some performed delightful plays based on the content of the books they have received.

This campaign is an excellent example of successful public/private partnerships, and of the spirit of volunteerism that the President has called for to address the challenges we face in this country.

The first Rally to Read in the Western Cape was held in the Cederberg region in 1999, to provide books and training support to 15 schools.

In 2001, the project moved to the Overberg, where sponsors visited 25 schools, mostly small farm schools, to deliver books for use in grades one to three. The rally returned to these schools this year, to deliver books for learners in grades four to seven.

Enquiries: André Gaum 082-772-6608.

Issued by:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
Email: pattwell@pawc.wcape.gov.za
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