The Family Literacy Project is based in Underberg a small town 30 miles North West of Centocow. It is in the Southern Drakensberg mountains.
The team members work in the Southern Drakensberg, in deep rural villages and in the rural towns and low cost housing developments of Underberg and Himeville. They use school classrooms, community halls, churches, homes and community libraries for the sessions in 15 communities, including Mpumlwane and Ndodeni near Centocow.
The Main Projects are:
FAMILY LITERACY GROUPS
These groups meet twice a week to improve their language and literacy skills, and to discuss a range of topics relating to their development and well being. Some members have attended from the start of the project in 2000.
Before Family Literacy Project opened the first community library, group members visited their neighbours to see whether they would use a library. The results were overwhelmingly in favour and, with perfect timing, we were asked by the NGO Biblionef if we would like a container library.
The bright blue container arrived in Stepmore and our first community library was opened in November 2003. Furniture was provided by the governmnt library services and books came from Biblionef, and other donors; group members catalogued the books and set up the library. The library is open to anyone living in Stepmore and is run by one of our group members, with support from the facilitator.
Today, Family Literacy Project supports four community libraries which have been built with funds raised by the project. They have four literacy group members who work in the libraries five days a week.
Jane visited one of these Libraries in 2005. See her report here.
In 2012 over 10,000 books were borrowed from the community libraries and box libraries in the 15 villages where they work.
The group members’ desire to spread the message of early reading gave rise to the home visiting scheme. The women take books with them to read to children; they also talk to mothers and grandmothers about their role in helping their children develop. From 2004 we have included health messages in our sessions. Members applied these early literacy and health messages in their own homes and then shared what they had learned with their neighbours. They also played with the very young children in these households. In this way, the family literacy message was spread to people who were not coming to the sessions.
The Family Literacy Project makes use of help and materials from Nal’ibali as well as using teaching materials that they have developed themselves.
GIRLS and TEENAGERS
Due to the high rate of teenage pregnancy, FLP developed materials for girls 9-12 years of age to help them understand their changing bodies and at the same time to build their self esteem and encourage them to think about their future. The material covers a year, and includes information about careers and encourages self-awareness.
Our teenage groups meet once a week to discuss issues around relationships, sexuality and HIV+AIDS. the groups encourage discussion around topics which primary caregivers are uncomfortable raising with their children.
Click here to see Family Literacy Project’s Facebook page