On Thursday, 30 August 2018, Dennegeur Avenue Primary School was abuzz with excitement as the programme to commemorate the opening of the new prefabricated library got underway.
The school has never had a dedicated library and literacy-support volunteers, who provide daily one-on-one reading support to the children, have been utilising an empty storage room to support many of the facility’s 947 children.
Breadline Africa M&E and Partnerships Manager, Diane Laugksch, explained that the organisation was particularly excited to be handing over a library on the eve of World Literacy Day and, acknowledged the dedication of the Breadline Africa donors who made the Dennegeur Primary School library possible.
Ms Laugksch also explained that World Literacy Day, which was first recognised in 1967, is an important event in Breadline Africa’s calendar, as it provides an opportunity to celebrate the role that the organisation and its partners have played in supporting efforts made by parents, teachers and literacy partners to ensure that South Africa’s youth are able to read. In particular, help2read was thanked for their willingness to partner with Breadline Africa on this project and for their commitment to providing daily one-on-one literacy support to the children.
The principal of the school, Mr Shaheed Gaidien spoke about the opening of the school in 1980, and how at that time the school had a library but due to lack of resources the library was shut down. After the closure of the library, the school had to use the services of the community library, which is not ideal for a school of this size; even coordinating the movement of the children from the school to the library proved challenging.
The school also suffered a very sad incident in it’s history too. On 24 August 2005, Dennegeur Avenue Primary School Grade 7 pupils were in a bus accident on Kloofnek, in which 40 pupils were injured, and three pupils, Shavonne Beck, Brent Stander and Angelique Johnson (all just 12 years old), and the bus driver, André Lemmetjies died following a school outing to Table Mountain.
In closing, Mr Gaidien stated that he was delighted that some 38 years later, the school has been able to re-open a library through Breadline Africa and help2read. He also thanked Breadline Africa for providing such a wonderful gift, because he strongly believes that reading is important and remains confident that the library will be put to good use.