On Friday, 17 September, children across South Africa will be invited to mail a postcard to their loved ones anywhere in the country, free of charge at selected post offices. This opportunity – a commemoration of National Literacy Month – is made possible by the South African Post Office and Nal’ibali.
Nal’ibali, a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading, has been working with the SA Post office since 2016. Each edition of its award-winning bilingual reading-for-enjoyment newspaper story supplement is delivered to 480 post offices across the country for its partner community-based organisations to collect. An additional 20 copies are made available at each branch for members of the public wanting to enjoy the stories and support the literacy-learning of the children in their lives.
Yandiswa Xhakaza, Nal’ibali’s CEO, says Nal’ibali’s efforts are geared towards promoting a culture of reading, which can transform South Africa. “People who read are innovative: they become pioneers, game-changers and captains of their industries. Children who read become adults who can change the world,” she explains.
This September, which is National Literacy Month, Nal’ibali and the SA Post Office are giving South African children a fun and practical platform to use their writing skills. On the 17th, between 1 and 3 PM, children can visit a participating post office branch to send a postcard to their friends or family for free. “The postcards will be provided by Nal’ibali and can be posted anywhere in South Africa. Our literacy activists will be on standby to help children write or draw on their cards and post them off to their loved ones,” says Xhakaza.
According to the SA Post Office’s Group CEO, Nomkhita Mona, reading skills, as the single biggest contributor to a child’s school success, are as vital as writing skills. “However, only 17% of South African schools have a library stocked with books, and very few homes have more than ten titles on their shelves. That is why we are happy to distribute Nal’ibali’s supplement to reading clubs, schools, libraries and community organisations all over the country,” she says.
Additionally, Nal’ibali will be increasing the number of supplements available to the public from 20 to 40 at all the partnering branches of the post office throughout September. Available in nine South African languages, the supplement has a range of exciting and accessible reading resources designed to help children fall in love with reading. Each edition includes stories that can be folded and cut into a book; activity suggestions for teachers and caregivers; motivational messaging and information about reading; news from the Nal’ibali network and games and activities for children.
Nal’ibali runs several more fun initiatives that promote reading, including radio programs and multi-lingual storytelling resources. Members of the public can support the project either by donating (www.nalibali.org) or, by joining Nali’bali’s network of volunteering literacy activists; ‘FUNda Leaders.’