Our first stop for the day was at Dukuza Primary school in Bergville. The sense of excitement was as strong amongst our team as it was with the students and teachers and the school welcomed us with some fantastic performances from the children. After the friendly welcome, we made our way onto the school grounds where we heard from the school principal, Mr. Nyembe, and teachers as they spoke about what it means for them and the children to be receiving these much-needed educational resources such as reading materials, stationery, and sporting equipment. After the official handing over of the Rally to Read supplies and signing to signify the commitment to the three-year Rally to Read program we were treated to some special performances from the students, one of which included an extremely theatrical Lion King play.
It was then time to all pile back into our cars and set off for the next school that was, Ngunjini. We were once again greeted by a friendly and warm welcome as the kids ran around in excitement and a marching band provided the welcome entertainment. The buzz and atmosphere that was felt as we made our way through the school grounds were absolutely incredible. And as it is with most Rally to Read visits, the highlight was the performances prepared by the children. What blew us away at this school was the outstanding level of reading shown by Grade 1, 2, and 3 students, showing that they are already on the right track. After the formalities and performances, we were given a tour of the school by the Principal, Mr. Mtshali, which really highlighted the difficulties rural schools face when it comes to resources and vacant staffing positions. However, in saying that, it is amazing what they have been able to achieve with what they do have.
At the end of the day, all the teams got to share their highlights and takings from their school visits with the whole group. It was clear that it was a special day for all, made up of countless magical moments, warm welcomes, and a sense that we can all do more. On visiting the rural schools, the vast contrast in educational facilities and resources that exist in our country becomes glaringly apparent and this is why Rally to Read is such a powerful initiative as companies and industries band together to play their part in making a difference and a positive contribution to the future of not only the children and schools but the country as a whole. We strongly recommend to anyone to get involved where possible and we look forward to joining the drive again next year.