Over the past couple of years Heifer International South Africa has partnered with many schools to raise awareness and funds for Heifer’s work through our Read to Feed program. The program equips teachers and librarians to take students on adventures that encourage them to read while providing them the opportunity to experience the feeling of helping others. The program has been remarkable in many schools. One of the most outstanding and committed Read to Feed Schools has been Crawford Preparatory School in La Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Because of Read to Feed, Heifer South Africa has had the privilege of working with many extraordinary people who display qualities of enthusiasm, initiative, courage, sacrifice, perseverance and humility in the nature of their involvement in assisting our mission to end hunger and poverty throughout the country.
“Each year’s project has been more exciting than the one before. The children, especially the younger ones, just love doing ‘Read to Feed’ and they are really disappointed when it comes to an end. Even before it is over, they want to know which animal we’re going to be ‘doing’ next year. Also, there is no doubt whatsoever that the children read much more during this period. And most importantly they become a lot more empathetic and aware of the plight of the people for whom they are reading,’’ shares Ms Alison McKenna, a Librarian, Crawford Preparatory School La Lucia.
Ms. McKenna has created a buzz in the school through her passion and enthusiasm for the Read to Feed program. Through innovative displays of sheep on the hallways of the school, daily nougat pop drawings and children running towards the library with their contributions or to collect their rewards for reading-Ms McKenna’s passion makes it obvious that the Read to Feed program knows no limits. Teachers show their enthusiasm too, rallying their classes for the good cause. Many other members of the community including parents, colleagues of parents and grandparents, have come on board to actively participate in the program.
"You must understand that we have a lot of fun doing Read to Feed at our school. When I hear those little feet running up the corridor, I just know they’re coming to the library with their 'balls of wool' and to claim their M & Ms,’’ said Ms McKenna. Students receive an M & M (marshmallow and meringue) for every “ball of wool” (cotton-ball) they earn, with each “ball of wool” representing $5 raised through reading. Ms McKenna has truly brought the program to life in her school.
Read to Feed is an exciting adventure for children and librarians alike. It teaches children to be everyday heroes by helping others through reading and learning. Read to Feed encourages a love for reading and promotes a passion to help others and create a better world. The program has gained recognition among teachers and parents. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a supporter of the program said, "Read to Feed is more than a reading program, it is also an opportunity for children to change the world.”
Heifer South Africa is so thankful for those like Ms. McKenna and the many librarians, teachers and parents who work with Heifer to bring the Read to Feed program to their schools. By doing so they are helping children make a real contribution, through reading, to end hunger and poverty in South Africa.
Start a Read to Feed program in your school or library.