After almost 8 years with FLP, Lynn Stefano is relocating to Cape Town with her family. We hosted a very special farewell lunch for Lynn in September, when we also announced the appointment of Pierre Horn as FLP’s new director. We are delighted that Pierre has taken up this position as he has extensive experience in the education and development sector in South Africa and has lived close to Underberg for many years. Pierre is founding director of Vukuzakhe Projects (VP), an NGO working with adults and children to improve literacy and provide psychosocial support to rural families. FLP and VP are merging and the combined programmes will continue to be known as Family Literacy Project. Lynn will continue to contribute to FLP as a member of the advisory committee.
This year we are partnering with Tembaletu and Aids Foundation of SA in the Community Works Programme. We are training 175 local women from Impendle, Ubhuhlebezwe and Ingwe Municipalities to visit families in their villages to share information about child development with carers and to play with and read to children 0-5 years of age. Training started in February, and will continue throughout the year. The home visitors are all functionally literate women who learn about children’s rights, the importance of play, creating safe environments for children to learn in, providing a nutritious diet, etc., all with a focus on supporting young children to learn and build early literacy skills. The DG Murray Trust is funding this training programme.
We are delighted to announce that we have moved into our new premises in Underberg, generously funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. For 12 years we have worked out of church halls and small rented premises, and used B&B accommodation for our team when in Underberg. At last we have a spacious facility that houses our two offices and has space for us to meet with our team of facilitators for project planning, review and training. We have also hosted other NGOs who partner with us (eg Save Act) when they have needed to meet in the district.
Lynn Stefano was invited by Stiftung Lesen to present our approach and work at their conference entitled “Prepare for Life! Raising Awareness for Early Literacy Education”, held in Leipzig, Germany from 12 – 14 March 2013. Thirty six countries were represented, and the gathering included academics and practitioners involved in various ways in early literacy, libraries and reading campaigns. The conference provided many opportunities for networking, learning from each other’s projects, and exposure to the latest research in early literacy education, brain science and language development in early childhood.
We have just received our BEE certificate number PVC_1210001 with 100% black beneficiaries, for companies wanting to improve their BEE scores. Please contact Lynn Stefano at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of our certificate and to discuss donating to our project.
During 2011 Professor Elda Lyster and Sandra Land conducted an external evaluation of our work to assess what changes happen in families as a result of our efforts to promote literacy in 15 villages in southern KwaZulu-Natal. We are very pleased with the findings, as we feel the evaluators accurately captured our work and the impact it is having. To access the report, click on EVALUATION REPORT 2011 on our website under Reports. We hope that by sharing this evaluation the message that family literacy is an essential building block in the development of early literacy skills will be spread more widely.
We have received another shipment of soft dolls made by Australian women and children for the children of KwaZulu-Natal. Each doll is lovingly made and has his or how own distinct character, and bring much joy to children who in most cases don’t have any toys at home. We also keep some of these dolls in the FLP supported community libraries for children to play with when they come to read and learn. In this way many children are able to play with just a few dolls. Thank you the dollmakers of Uthando for your generous and creative spirits.
In September our director, Lynn Stefano received the Paul Harris Fellow Award from Rotary Foundation, for exemplary work in promoting literacy among underprivileged communities in rural areas.
We have presented our work at various conferences and events in 2011:
- The BALID/British Council/PRAESA Common goals, shared purpose conference 24-25 January
- REading campaign meeting hosted by the DG Murray Trust 12 May
- The 7th Pan-African Reading-for-All Conference, University of Botswana 11 – 14 July
- Education and Development third year students, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 22 August
- Reading ASsociation of South Africa KwaZulu-Natal meeting, 24 August
In November 14 members from Golang Kulani (GK) in Limpopo visited our FLP sites around Underberg and Centocow to learn about our home visiting programme. Zimbili Dlamini and Florence Molefe then returned to Limpopo with our visitors to run a week-long Introduction to Family Literacy workshop with GK staff. By all accounts this was a very successful cross visit between our two organisations – learning about each other’s approaches and work – and the seeds have been planted for further collaboration between us. Our thanks to CDRA for supporting this initiative and to the Bernard van Leer Foundation for funding.