JOHANNESBURG, SEPTEMBER 2023 – A recent study reveals that 80% of South African children struggle to read by the age of 10. This statistic speaks to a much greater issue, which has seen the rate of illiteracy rise from 78% in 2016 to 81%.
According to the Department of Basic Education, reading is the most important linguistic skill; a critical one that needs to be developed in young children. Addressing the issue of low literacy rates among South African children is crucial – not only for their individual development – but also for the overall socio-economic development of the country.
To support the fight against illiteracy, Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron, has donated R300 000 to Rally to Read. The funds were raised during a corporate social investment event where Netstar committed to match all amounts raised – effectively doubling the donation.
“We are proud to support projects that help young people take control of their own future,” says Grant Fraser, Netstar Group MD. “With this donation to Rally to Read, we’re investing in a brighter future for South Africa, one where every child can thrive.”
Established in 1998, the Rally to Read literacy programme (“The Rally”) aims to provide a bridge between hardship and hope by enhancing the reading, writing and communication skills potential of learners in under-resourced schools. As Read Educational Trust CEO, Sizile Mabaso, put it “By prioritising literacy and education, South Africa can unlock the potential of its children”.
While the programme has impacted hundreds of schools across the country, the example set by parents and guardians is the most important. Adults play a major role in inspiring a love for reading in children – and Rally to Read therefore encourages all parents to read in front of their children often.
“We want to say a big thank you to Netstar for their generous donation,” says Read Educational Trust CEO, Sizile Mabaso. “These funds allow us to keep helping children in the schools that need it most. Together, we’re making a big difference in the lives of young learners. Thank you, Netstar, for being a part of this important mission!”