61 Riversand Primary schoolchildren of disadvantaged backgrounds are blessed with gift of literacy


Granting children from disadvantaged backgrounds the gift of reading saw 61 schoolchildren of Riversands Primary School receiving their literacy and vocabulary certificates.


Granting children from disadvantaged backgrounds the gift of reading saw 61 schoolchildren of Riversands Primary School receiving their literacy and vocabulary certificates.

This was thanks to The Link non-profit organization whose mandate is linking the community with literacy and numeracy.

According to the NPO’s Kate Alexander who helps run the center at Riversands Primary School, they support the development of literacy and vocabulary in children for whom English is a second language, and who attend low-income schools such as the one at Riversands.

“Today is very special as we got to give these children their literacy certificates. Seeing the pride on their little faces made me so happy, as this day was made possible because of the incredible joint effort from their school teachers and our volunteers.”

She explained that one of the challenges they faced was helping teach more children, however, they needed to have more volunteers. “The more volunteers we have, the more children we can teach.”

Alexander explained that another challenge was teaching children with a vernacular accent as it tends to be quite confusing for them.

“Our children are positive and always willing to learn and we always try our best to teach them the best way possible.”

The assistant to Alexander, June Holt stated that working with the children for the past couple of months has been satisfying as they came with no expectations and seeing them learn how to read and speak a little bit of English has been motivating to witness. “With the new-found confidence our children have regarding reading and speaking English, they are now open to enjoying their time with our volunteers.”

Holt explained that they provide 45-minute lessons on a Tuesday and Wednesday, as the children get a one-on-one with the volunteers.

The organization was founded in 2010 by Margi Bashall, a teacher, who was inspired by The Shine Centre. It is managed and staffed by volunteer members of the community who are committed to making a difference in education and who enjoy working with children.

Alexander said, “Our volunteers do not need to have any teaching experience but they are required to be fluent in English as this is a second or third language for many of the children we assist. We provide basic training and all the resources required.”

The Link is recognized by the Gauteng educational authorities and has permission to operate during school hours and work with children in grades 2 and 3, who are identified by valid testing to be at risk of not achieving their potential.

“Teachers, at all our partner schools, are supportive of our efforts and are consulted regularly,” concluded Alexander.