Opening New Worlds to HIV Orphans

Students reading together at the John Wesley Community Centre in South Africa. Photo: Jeannethe Lara

The John Wesley Community Center (JWCC), a PWRDF partner in Etwatwa, South Africa provides a myriad of opportunities for HIV and AIDS orphans in the region, including sports, music, dance, computers, art, and, perhaps most importantly, reading.  The importance of literacy cannot be overemphasized, and Canadian society has done a good job of promoting that message from “Reading is fundamental” ads to the prevalence of e-readers on the subway when one is traveling to work.

In an email update of their program, the JWCC wrote, “Through teaching reading we know that our aftercare children will get where we want them to be.”  The Centre provides eight reading groups each week, each geared to a different reading level.  The students may struggle with their reading skills, but they can each work at their own pace.  “Kids are not the same in doing tasks so we understand them better now individually,” the JWCC reports.

In addition to coming together to read each week, the students in the reading class also have access to a library.  Each Friday, children can take a book out of the library.  They return the book on Monday along with “”¦ a thorough explanation on what has been read by the child from that book”¦”  Their library has taught the children about mathematics, life skills, hygiene, behavior, careers, my self, word building and more.

By learning to read with the staff and volunteers at the JWCC, these children will get to explore other worlds that are only as far away as the cover of the next book they borrow from the library!

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