Launch of Pick n Pay Mandela Day book drive
Giving students at disadvantaged schools access to books is the focus of the Pick n Pay Mandela Day book drive, which was launched on Thursday 28 June at the Pick n Pay head office in Kensington, Johannesburg.
The “Donate a book and build a future that’s full of goodness” campaign will see the creation of book drop-off points at certain Pick n Pay stores across the country. People can contribute to the cause by donating books and educational reading material.
South Africans are encouraged to champion the collection of books among their communities and donate to the cause by dropping off books (old and new) at their closest participating Pick n Pay in honour of Mandela Day.
The power of books
Local Mandela Day champions, South African celebrities, and representatives from Pick n Pay, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and big business attended the launch, along with members of the media.
In his welcome address, Spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory Sello Hatang shared good news about Mandela Day container libraries, an initiative by Breadline Africa and the Centre of Memory to bring books to impoverished schools across the country.
“This year we set our target at 20 container libraries. Since the official launch of the 2012 container library drive in May, we have already gathered funding for 10 of the container libraries,” said Hatang.
Malcolm Mycroft, General Manager of marketing at Pick n Pay, introduced the concept of the book drive, saying that for Pick n Pay, doing good is good business.
“Our posters reinforce the message, ‘Donate a book and build a future that is full of goodness.’ Our customers have a legacy of reacting to our calls for action, so we envision all South Africans donating books at drop-off points at hypermarkets and supermarkets across the country,” he said.
Bronwen Rohland, Pick n Pay’s Director of Marketing and Sustainability, said it was vitally important that all children have access to books from a young age.
“Books open a door to a whole new world,” she said. “Through reading, children not only improve their grammar and vocabulary, but also learn about people and places from other parts of the world, improving their understanding of and concern for all people.”
Local television star Jack Devnarain from Isidingo shared some insights about reading, saying that changing a child’s perspective and teaching them to love books and enjoy reading is imperative.
“We are not chasing mediocrity when it comes to our children’s future. Through this programme we are returning to excellence and teaching children about the importance of reading,” he said.
Hatang reinforced this message: “Just as we encourage youth to actively participate in Mandela Day, we also acknowledge the importance of literacy at a young age. Just think if every child could read, the power it would give to people and communities the world over. We would like to thank Pick n Pay for helping us drive more books to disadvantaged schools.”
The books from the Pick n Pay drop-off points will be collected and handed over to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory on Mandela Day, 18 July.
The Centre will then distribute the books via Mandela Day container libraries, which will be set up at various schools across the country.
Help South Africa’s children learn to love books
Puleng Phooko from Breadline Africa shared the shocking statistic that about 35% of children who leave primary school are unable to read.
She explained that via Pick n Pay’s national initiative, which envisions some 680 stores taking part, books will be collected and distributed to container libraries across the country.
Frank Meintjies from the Centre of Memory highlighted the importance of donating the right types of books.
“The best books to donate are storybooks – ones that you loved as a child, or ones that your own children love. If possible, please try to donate books in any of our official languages. We support reading for learning purposes, but also want to encourage the love of books,” he said.
“Books transport the reader beyond their current constraints and circumstances to a world of possibility. Let’s take action together and cumulatively make a big impact.”