The Sunday Times launched a storybook campaign and their aim is to distribute 500 000 storybooks to 2 500 under-resourced schools across the country this year.

“The Sunday Times understands the importance of teaching children when they are still young,” said Mondli Makhanya, the editor of the Sunday Times. “Early childhood development is critical to ensure a better future for South Africa’s youth.”

In consultation with the Department of Education, the ten stories will be combined into a 132-page book. The stories, all written and illustrated by local writers and artists, are aimed at improving the reading and comprehension skills of grade R to grade 6 learners. An evaluation in 2004 showed that grade 6 learners had poor language skills and their reading did not meet age and grade-appropriate global standards.

The publishers, Oxford University Press, Maskew Miller Longman, MacMillan and Cambridge University Press have donated ten stories to the campaign. It’s up to us, the South African public to help fund the publishing and distributing of these books. Change doesn’t always come as One Big Solution. It often comes in a series of smaller changes, like with this campaign. If you have your country’s best interest at heart, start by supporting this campaign.

SMS to donate
To donate two books, readers can SMS the word “story” to 39973 – Each sms costs R15.
To donate four books, readers can SMS the word “story” to 42973 – Each sms costs R30.

Readers can also club together as book clubs, schools and other community groups to sponsor multiple copies. Companies can sponsor the storybooks as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes without going the SMS route.

My thinking is this: What can I possibly buy for R30? Nothing that equals the worth of these books, for sure. But I can bring change to our beautiful country by empowering its people. So can you!

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