Dreamfields Teams up with Rally to Read
If you want to know what impact the Rally to Read initiative has had on rural schools for more than a decade, then visit www.rallytoread.co.za, and read what the teachers and pupils have to say.
“I was in the dark,” says HZ Makhanya, a teacher at Mvangatini Primary in Mpumalanga. “You came to my rescue as torch-bearers to enable me. Now I can teach without fear.” This positive energy clearly rubs off on the children. “I am proud of who I am,” says Sibusiso Sigawuke, one of his pupils. “I know I’m going to make it in life.”
Started in 1998 as a joint venture between the McCarthy motor retail group, Read Educational Trust and the Financial Mail, Rally to Read has changed the lives of more than 200 000 rural children. This has been achieved by providing their schools with books, stationery, science equipment and training for teachers and principals. Rally to Read is one of South Africa’s most successful and admired educational initiatives – and the Dreamfields Project is proud to say that we will be working together for the second year.
The unique feature of Rally to Read is that contributors are invited to travel to the remote rural schools which they are supporting, and to spend time getting to know the pupils and teachers whose lives they are helping to change.
Last year, many of those contributors managed to squeeze a DreamBag filled with soccer kit in amongst the libraries and the laboratory equipment. A total of 44 rural schools received DreamBags, enabling Dreamfields to reach remote communities we would never have been able to touch.
“The screams and jubilation from the children when opening the DreamBags and seeing the contents was such a special moment for me on our last Rally,” says Iris Francis, National Rally to Read co-ordinator. “I think that including Dreamfields in the program was the highlight of Rally 2010 and we look forward to making more dreams a reality in 2011.”
So Dreamfields’ partnership with Rally to Read continues this year, and we are hoping that when the rallies set off in May and June, each vehicle will be 22kgs heavier – that’s how much a DreamBag weighs. Schools have been targeted in a range of areas, including Tugela Valley in Kwazulu-Natal, Grabouw in the Western Cape, Malelane in Mpumalanga and Danielskuil in the Northern Cape.
At Dreamfields we’ve always believed that growing dreams through soccer is not fundamentally about sport. It’s our way of helping to raise the overall quality of school life, and so we are delighted to partner with an organisation that is addressing educational needs at this fundamental level.
Back at www.rallytoread.co.za, we came across this quote: “The stories in the books you provide give the children wings to fly to new places,” says Ms MC van der Vyver, a teacher at Elizabethfontein Primary near Clanwilliam in the Western Cape. We think that’s inspiring – and when the children land on the ground again, we’ll continue the good work by putting their feet inside a pair of brand new football boots.