The youth of Hillbrow often had no access to books and used to travel quite a long way to go to a library, but now, thanks to empowerment and skills development organisation Outreach Foundation, they have a brand new library and computer centre right on their doorstep.
“When we asked both our staff and the youth what was needed in the area, everyone said a library. We were happy to oblige and thanks to generous support from the Vodacom Foundation we now have a beautiful library and ICT Centre,” says Executive Director for Outreach Foundation, Robert Michel.
“They now have a place where they can read, do research for projects both through books and online, type their projects up and complete their homework. Also, our library staff are eager to help and inspire them.
“We are very lucky as Vodacom Foundation also placed Puseletso Phoofolo, a Vodacom Change the World Volunteer, with us for a year. She will work fulltime in the centre and assist the youth with homework, research, job applications and more.”
The new library was opened on Friday, 23 March 2018 by Ms Lindiwe Madumo, who represented the Department of Basic Education on behalf of the Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga.
As she cut the ribbon, the hordes of youth and their parents who were eagerly waiting to see the new library, quickly went in and excitedly looked at the rows of books on the shelves before settling down to listen to the opening speeches.
Ms Madumo thanked the Foundation for ending Library Week so nicely by making this space available for the children of Hillbrow. She said that libraries were essential as it helps to instil a love for reading.
“There is nothing quite like holding a book in your hand and feeling the texture of the paper. Reading a book is special and takes you places. Let’s make reading fashionable. Tell your friends about this library and come here as often as you can,” said Ms Madumo.
During his speech, Michel also thanked the generous support received from a variety of donors across Gauteng, including individuals. He specifically thanked Rotary Books Bedfordview and Northcliff High School. Rotary books donated the majority of the books in the library, and Northcliff High School, many of the resource books.
Throughout the event, the children regularly chanted ‘Knowledge is power and readers are leaders’.
Ethel Munyai, the programme manager for Outreach Foundation’s Youth Centre, reminded all that this space is also important as it will get children off the streets, especially during school holidays and get them reading, an essential skill that will empower them to reach their full potential.
Entrance to the library is free to the children of the area, and they are encouraged to respect the rules of the library which is much like those of any other library, i.e. be considerate to others, practice good manners and respect the books.
The Outreach Foundation offers support and development to people living in the inner city of Johannesburg and beyond. Through skills development, advocacy and arts enrichment programmes, the foundation seeks to inspire creative and empowering journeys for all looking to achieve their full potential.
For more information about Outreach Foundation or to help us with our work in urban communities, please go to www.outreachfoundation.co.za