February 2023.

Joszelle Baard, Reading Assistant at a small Patensie-based farm school, Quagga Primary, chose “Sirkus op die plaas” to read to her group of young learners, in celebration of ‘World Read Aloud Day’, as the story is very relatable for children that are familiar with farm life. This annual event takes place on the first Wednesday in February and is dedicated not only to reading, but to the art and practice of reading aloud.

“Stories have a long history of being passed down from generation to generation, a tradition this is still practiced in many of our cultures in South Africa. The tradition of oral forms of storytelling were the earliest way of preserving human knowledge, insight, and creativity, making this day a way to help us bring back a tradition and promote literacy,” explained Caroll Warmberg, Managing Director, ITEC, implementation partner of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Literacy and Numeracy Programme.

Taking place across six schools in and around the Jeffreys Bay area, hundreds of children participated in variety of fun classroom activities to highlight the importance of reading aloud, an activity that is known to build empathy and help create a lifelong love of reading. This in turn improves language and listening skills, facilitates important or difficult conversations and stimulates the imagination.

“As we know fun activities are sometimes just as effective as hard work, but foremost, this event that has been enjoyed by hundreds of young learners, keeps the history of storytelling alive, whilst stimulating the love of reading,” said Tsholofelo Moote, Economic Development Specialist for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, which funded this project as part of its Socio-Economic Development Programme, which has a keen focus on providing access to quality education.

To-date the Literacy and Numeracy programme, which is active across 14 primary schools within the communities of Hankey, Patensie, Ocean View, Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp, has drawn in nineteen youth from the wind farm’s surrounding communities, to train as Reading Assistants. The Programme forms part of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Foundation Phase Education Programme, and is particularly impactful as children are assisted individually or in small groups, according to their ability, paying particular attention to those who struggle. The Programme incorporates a number of elements, namely employment opportunities, training and resources. In addition to this, schools also receive books for reading and maths clubs.