NPO helps to educate those in need

Academic and life skills booklets distributed to pupils in Retreat, Westlake, Capricorn and Steenberg.

A Meadowridge-based NPO is distributing educational booklets to school pupils in poorer communities who don’t have access to online learning.

The booklets deal with literacy, numeracy and mental health. The Life Matters Foundation has so far distributed more than 2 400 booklets through feeding schemes in Retreat, Westlake, Capricorn and Steenberg.

Established in 2002, the foundation helps underprivileged schools, trains residents as literacy and numeracy volunteers and runs a life-skills programme. It usually works with Lourier, Sullivan, Westlake, Steenberg and Capricorn primary schools but had to close during lockdown. It started giving out the first booklets two weeks ago.

Westlake Primary School principal Landie Diamond said they had received 300 handouts in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa to help parents teach their children at home.

The booklet has life-skills and academic sections with activities for children in Grade 1 to 3 to strengthen their reading, writing and maths skills. Other activities help older children evaluate and manage their emotions and mental health.

The foundation is now printing a second batch of booklets.

According to the foundation’s Sharleen Haupt, the easing of the lockdown to level 4 made it possible to have the materials printed.

A second batch of booklets will have a life skills and academic section too.

The booklet will also contain story-sequence cards used to stimulate language, vocabulary, comprehension, sequencing and writing skills.

The back of the booklet lists additional resources, including links to data-free educational websites.

Ms Haupt said the resources were being shared electronically with other organisations that had printed and distributed them in their own communities.

Alneré Turck, the foundation’s executive director, said: “These resources are helping caregivers ensure that even though teaching may not be happening, learning can still take place.”

The foundation also has a WhatsApp project through which volunteers make voice notes of themselves reading a story. The voice notes are then sent on to teachers and pupils.

“If there is one thing this virus has shown us it is that human beings are incredibly resourceful and compassionate. We will find a way to navigate this ever-changing landscape and continue the work that we believe we have been called to do,” Ms Turck said.

The foundation is running a campaign that encourages people to run or walk 5km and donate R50 to the booklets’ printing costs and then challenge five friends to do the same.

Visit lifemattersfoundation.org, email admin@lifemattersfoundation.org or call 021 712 0383 for more information.