Concerned Cape Town students c

Concerned Cape Town students crowdfund to buy reading books for charity

The recent Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), which surveyed over 320 000 respondents, concluded that South Africa’s reading score has remained unimproved since 2011 and was ranked last out of 50 countries globally.

Concerned Cape Town students c

Troubled by these dismal reading statistics, twelve-year-old school girls from Rondebosch, Mia Andrew and Zara-Leigh Oliphant, decided to focus on improving literacy as part of their Social Entrepreneurial Project.

The girls both attend Micklefield Primary School where part of the ethos is to develop a sense of giving back from a young age.

A teacher from the school, Keshma Patel says, “With the Social Entrepreneurship Project our students are tasked with establishing a business to raise funds and create awareness around their selected cause. With this our Grade 6 students learn valuable lessons on persistence and offering support to others less fortunate than themselves. These are life skills which engender empathy within the larger community and develop their potential as valuable citizens of the future.”

Mia’s mother, Sue Andrew is involved with GROW at Educare Centres. This is a micro-franchise which focuses on empowering women and enhancing the quality of early childhood education in low-income areas, and it was here that Mia and Zara first began lending a hand.

Zara says, “When Mia and I got involved with GROW, we were excited to lend a hand because we are both passionate about education and helping children from disadvantaged areas.”

To raise awareness for their cause, Mia and Zara created a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy and pledged to take on the ‘Muddy Princess’ obstacle course in Stellenbosch as an opportunity to fundraise.

Mia says, “We should all have an equal opportunity to education and this is what GROW stands for. As a young girl, it is important to read and do well in school so we can follow our dreams.”

At the obstacle course, wearing pink tutus, the pair completed the 5km course fearlessly and raised an impressive R17 670 with contributions from 41 donors which will allow the girls to buy 500 books and empower other young minds through the power of reading.

According to the dynamic duo, regardless of gender identity, with the right amount of effort, we are all capable of anything we set our minds to.

“Women have an important role to play in society, your gender should not determine your ability,” says Zara.

As a business mentor, teaching entrepreneurial skills to women in the townships, Mia’s mum, Sue, has seen firsthand South Africa’s yearning for strong women.

“It is vital that we teach our girls to be self-reliant and that through education and skills development anything is possible,” says Sue.

Mia agrees: “Even if a boy is stronger than a girl, it doesn’t mean that he is stronger than her mentally.”

With their crowdfunding campaign still accepting donations, Mia and Zara hope to raise an additional R8000 to contribute a total of 750  books to GROW.

“As a family, we embraced this project with open arms. Reading feeds the soul and will give a young mind a new perspective on life whilst providing a great foundation for later learning and sharpening the imagination. We hope the public will continue their support for the BackaBuddy campaign,” says Zara’s mum, Yvette Oliphant.

To donate to this very worthy cause, please go to the girls’ BackaBuddy page