For 36-year-old Kathlehong resident Mthunzi Motha, FUNda Sonke has provided a perfect opportunity to connect with people across the country and learn ways to help improve literacy in his community. FUNda Sonke – isiXhosa for “everyone read” – is a loyalty programme for everyone in the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali. The programme acknowledges everyday heroes like Motha who generously volunteer their time to encourage and support reading in their communities.
It is also a place for everyone to share their literacy experiences, successes, and challenges, and to support one another as well as do the three free online modules that Nal’ibali offers. Motha started a reading club in June. He had been part of Nal’ibali for just over a year and was one of the first people to join FUNda Sonke when it launched in April. An enthusiastic participant in FUNda Sonke’s many challenges, he has won books and Shoprite vouchers that were up for grabs.
“I was listening to the radio when I heard about Nal’ibali and I was interested in it because I saw a need for literacy activities in my community,” he said. “I am unemployed and I thought, what better way to use my time than to help children and see them improve in their studies by forming a reading club?” Before FUNda Sonke, Motha had mentored children in leadership skills as a volunteer at schools in his area and he had also worked as a homework assistant.
“Being in FUNda Sonke has given me the opportunity to connect with other people who are making a change in their communities through literacy. Being there has also motivated me to start writing children stories,” he said. “I hope that one day I am able to share the stories with other children outside my reading club and maybe turn them into a book.” Motha reads the stories that he writes in isiZulu to the children in his reading club, which meets twice a week. The club struggles to get books. “Stories bring imagination to life and allow children to dream,” said Motha.