Latest News | 28 Sep 2021 | By Sun International
Sun International brings gift of reading to underprivileged children
Sibaya Casino in collaboration with Read to Rise handed over books to Highstone Primary School for International Literacy Day and book week. Left to right: Karen Hammond, Sibaya HR Manager; Kelly Ngcobo, Grade 3 learner, Pamela Shabane, Grade 3 learner; Pumla Masuku, Sibaya HR Business Partner; and Lisa Singh; Educator.
Sibaya Casino in collaboration with Read to Rise handed over books, valued at R141,000 to four schools during September’s Literacy Month
To honour international literacy month Sun International and five of its properties, teamed up with Read to Rise to donate over R200 000 worth of books and mini-libraries to underprivileged schools across South Africa.
The Umhlanga-based Sibaya Casino in Durban contributed R141 000 for Grade 3 and Grade 4 learners at four schools, all of which received books and mini-libraries. The Siphosethu, Sibonginhlanhla, Highstone and Redfern Primary schools are all located in areas plagued by poverty and high rates of illiteracy.
Runganathan Govender, Principal of Redfern Primary School in Phoenix, Durban thanked Sibaya and Sun International for the magnanimous effort and opportunity provided to his school and other schools around the country. “There is a lack of literacy in the formative years of education and this investment in literacy will go a long way in turning around this current problem,” said Govender.
Just 10km away from Sun International’s Sandton head office is the township of Alexandra and the Ekukhanyisweni Primary school. The school was the recipient of eight mini-libraries and books for learners to keep, valued at R70 000. The joint donation was made by the hospitality group and its Maslow Sandton hotel. At the school, 390 eager Grade three and four learners turned out to receive their books and to have Athol William’s Oaky the Brave Acorn read to them in English and translated into Zulu.
Iconic resort Sun City donated almost 100 new books valued at just under R21 000 to the SG Ntuane Primary School in the North West province. Grade 3 and Grade 4 classes each received a mini-library with 50 new story books for the school, while Grade 3 learners received an additional 23 books and Grade 4 learners received 24 books. Each learner also received a special lunch pack on the day, courtesy of the chefs at Sun City.
In Cape Town, Sun International’s GrandWest entertainment and leisure complex donated three mini-libraries and 123 books with a value of R16 000 to classes from Grade 2 to Grade 4 at Riverton Primary School in Bishop Lavis, an area plagued by poverty. Current Miss South Africa, Shudufhadzo Musida, accompanied GrandWest to the school and read to the students.
The luxurious five-star Table Bay hotel in the V&A Waterfront, donated copies of Marc Hoberman’s book titled Oscar! to young patients at the Red Cross Children’s hospital. Presenters from the hospital’s in-house radio station RX Radio, will read the book on air. Additional copies will also be available for children to read. The book tells of the true story of Oscar, a real Cape Fur Seal and his unlikely friendship with a local fisherman in Cape Town habour. Oscar regularly visited the area where the hotel is located. Children also received cute inflatable seals. The total donation is valued at R2 500.
In Worcester, where many residents rely on seasonal jobs on wine farms, the Golden Valley Casino and Lodge donated R16 000 to supply 160 books for Grade 2 learners at Esselen Park Primary school. Youngsters each received a care pack from the casino containing a reading book, an activity book, a mask, soap, juice and a snack.
“The pandemic has brought about so many challenges and heartache for learners in our communities, so we are extremely grateful to Sun International for partnering with READ to RISE on International Literacy Day to get children, around the country, excited about books and reading,” says Taryn Lock Executive Director of Read to Rise.
Read to Rise aim to significantly improve youth literacy in South Africa. The NPO believes that every child needs to be able to read in order to rise in their educational and personal development.
The organisation is the official partner of the national Department of Basic Education, which has endorsed its programmes. “The problem we face in our under-resourced communities is that our learners are not reading enough. Children in Grades one through four should be reading 40-50 books per year. In schools in our disadvantaged communities, children are reading only one to two books per year,” says Lock.
Heidi Edson, CSI Manager at Sun International, was present at the event in Alexandra on 8 September 2021. “Seeing the wonder on these children’s faces when we read to them and took them through the journey of an acorn was a gift and made the donation worth it.”
“We are grateful that we can, in conjunction with Read to Rise, give these children a gift that will hopefully change their lives for the better.”