3 December 2021 saw the handover of a new prefabricated library at Elnor Primary School, funded by GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World, in partnership with Breadline Africa. It was a morning of celebration and entertainment, which included dancing and an exciting magic show. The children were also treated to a special lunch prepared by the talented GrandWest chefs. Santa and his elves also made a surprise visit, bearing gifts for each child.
Elnor Primary School is situated in Elsies River, which forms part of the Cape Flats, where the unemployment rate is high and many parents of the 800 learners struggle to make ends meet. It is a quintile four school, which is classed as a no-fee school. “The school had a library some years ago, but it had to be converted into a classroom after a row of classrooms were burnt down by gangsters and have not been replaced yet,” said teacher Dillon Henwood. There are only a few books, most of them well-used and outdated, which is why a new library and suitable books were much needed.
The principal, Mark Agulhas, welcomed the guests and expressed his sincere gratitude to Breadline Africa and GrandWest. He said that when he entered Elnor Primary School in 2017, he knew little of what lay ahead. The literacy and mathematics rate were lower than expected but the teachers have been making good progress. Having a fully functional library that will be able to accommodate an afternoon programme, will help significantly in 2022.
Breadline Africa’s M&E and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Diane Laugksch, said that one of the organisation’s objectives is to provide libraries and books to help children to develop a love for reading. She added that her hope is that this library will compliment what the teachers are currently doing and she wished them and the children well, encouraging them to enjoy the space and have many hours of real fun. Diane also thanked the GrandWest team and complimented them on a fantastic way to finish off the year with this extraordinary gift that they have given to this school and to so many other schools throughout the year.
Mervyn Naidoo, General Manager at GrandWest, said that when they saw an article about the wonderful work that one of the educators, Dillon Henwood, was doing in this community, conducting a soup kitchen and some of it with his own money, they wanted to see how they could help. Dillon is a passionate teacher at Elnor, going way beyond the call of duty and GrandWest are happy to be associated with him and the school. Mervyn said that when they first visited the school, the principal mentioned many things that they needed but the library was the main priority – a space that children can use and be proud of. As a result, GrandWest sponsored this beautiful library, in partnership with Breadline Africa.
A great end to the school year and a bright beginning for the 2022 academic year, offering a wonderful opportunity to improve literacy levels significantly.