On Monday 23 November, Breadline Africa launched a new 30m² prefabricated library, stocked with books and resources, at Rietenbosch Primary School in Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape. This was kindly funded by The MacFarlane Family Foundation and will be used daily by 1,034 children between the ages of seven and 13. The school did not have a dedicated library facility and was temporarily making use of a small meeting room or staff room, which was not ideal. The school wanted all grades to have full access to reading materials and resources at different times during the school day, and a new dedicated library would be the ideal solution. A request to Breadline Africa culminated in the donation of a brand-new, fully-equipped library! 

At the event, the school’s principal, Mr Irvin van Kerwel emphasised that Cloetesville is a poor community where parents are non-existent in children’s lives and therefore more than 60% of grandmothers are left with the responsibilities of raising the children. The children do not have access to books at home and in many cases, the grandparents cannot read themselves. Mr van Kerwel said, “I am a true believer that readers become leaders. I cannot convey how you have brought joy into the hearts of our learners. Your donation will help spread the love of reading and writing in our beloved community. This library is more meaningful and impactful than you can know.” The Breadline Africa team shares Mr van Kerwel’s sentiments and believes that this library will instill a culture of reading that will permeate out into the community. 

The confident and dynamic head girl, Erinay Lewis, shared how thankful the learners were now that they had more opportunity to read. She spoke of how Nelson Mandela once said that when we read, we can travel to many places, meet many different people, and learn more about the world. She thanked Breadline Africa for allowing them to understand the world better and experience the world through books. 

Marion Wagner, the director of Breadline Africa, said how exciting it was to see the library being opened. She explained to the guests that only 20% of schools in South Africa have a functional library and that approximately 80% of children under the age of ten are not able to read for meaning. Rietenbosch Primary School have shown how they care about these statistics and want to make a difference in the lives of their learners. Marion reminded those present that none of this would have been possible without the support of The MacFarlane Family Foundation. She ended by thanking everyone involved and wished the school many happy years of reading for generations to come. 

They say a person learns to read and then reads to learn, so it is a never-ending cycle of knowledge that will impact these children. The Breadline Africa team thanks The MacFarlane Family Foundation for their support and for allowing these children and many generations to come, to fall in love with reading. 

We wish the school all the best as they enjoy their beautiful new library. 


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