By Al Qalam Reporter
So what do you do when you don’t have the space or the money to put up a fully fledged library at your school – you improvise with a “fold-up trolley” library that you can wheel from classroom to classroom.
That is exactly what the Anjuman Islam Primary School in Durban’s CBD had adopted, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Willowton Group, which had donated four such mobile libraries to the institution.
The 690 pupils from the school, ranging from Grade RR to 7, comprise mainly children from informal settlements and generally impoverished communities. Roughly 160 of the pupils are from refugee families and English is a second language.
Although staff work hard to educate the children – and there has been a gradual improvement in the Annual National Assessment results – the school’s lack of library facilities had proved a huge impediment in improving the children’s literacy rate.
However, the school is currently using every square metre of the building making the option of constructing a library impossible.
Earlier this year, the school approached Ahmed Motala of New Africa Education Foundation for assistance. The NPO recently completed a mobile library project for 20 schools in KwaMashu and this was considered a viable option for Anjuman Islam Primary School.
Motala approached the Willowton Group who eagerly stepped in to fund four mobile libraries for the school at a total cost of R112 000. Each of the four libraries is housed on a different level of the school, making the books easily accessible to teachers and pupils.
Deputy Principal of Anjuman Islam Primary School, Mohamed Akbar Aboobaker, said the staff and pupils were “elated” about the libraries, each of which is stocked with 200 books covering a range of topics.
“This will go a long way in accelerating the school’s literacy programme,” said Aboobaker. “There are 40 children per class and, because of the school’s design, it is difficult to get the children around easily which is why having a mobile library on every floor really caters for our children’s needs. We are so grateful for this generous donation.”
Chairman of the Willowton Group, Farouk Moosa said that a literate, educated society is a “safer, healthier and more prosperous society”.
“Promoting reading, writing and other academic subjects will lead the way in promoting prosperity through knowledge. We, as a country, simply cannot afford to have children who cannot read and learn any longer,” said Moosa.