Today, the eyes of the world are upon South Africa as football (soccer) fans descend on the country for the kickoff of the 2010 FIFA World Cup competition. It’s the first time this worldwide sporting event has been hosted by an African nation, so it’s a big deal! We’d also be remiss if we didn’t offer our congratulations to the people of South Africa, especially our Room to Read South Africa team whom we hope can enjoy some of the festivities!
But, there are other – smaller varieties – of competitions that happen around South Africa and in honor of the World Cup, we wanted to share our own “competition” story. This one, however, is not about who takes home a coveted trophy but about who wins the battle for the best school library.
Just a few weeks ago, over 300 people in the Mpumalange province – an agricultural region located far and away from the urban landscapes of Johannesburg and Cape Town – gathered at an awards ceremony hosted by the provincial Department of Education to recognize the achievements of several local school libraries.
The government surveyed more than 200 schools in the province to present awards in categories such as “Best Improved Library,” “Best Library Monitor,” and “Best Librarian.” It’s an annual presentation by the Department of Education to support and promote the utilization of local libraries by children, families and the community at large.
Room to Read was thrilled to learn that many of the schools honored at the event have active Reading Rooms that were established by Room to Read. Even more exciting was news that two schools – Kennen Primary School (supported by Sterling Brands) and Ehlanzeni Siyakhula – scooped up the award for “School Library of the Year” in their respective regions.
Teachers and students around South Africa who now have a library thanks to Room to Read have been sending us their words of thanks. Miss Prudence Ntimba, a librarian and teacher, commented, “Our school is located in a remote area…there is a high illiteracy level in our community. Room to Read provided us with books and library furniture and we are very grateful. My students can now read with confidence in front of other students and their self-esteem has improved. Thank you for making me realize my dream to bring something good for my community.”
Talk about more feathers to add to South Africa’s cap!
For more information about Room to Read in South Africa, click here.