Giving hope to SA’s youth: Ford deepens Rally to Read commitment in Pretoria

Published Feb 27, 2024


For 25 years now, The Read Educational Trust has been bringing hope to communities that need it the most through its Rally to Read initiative.

Ford South Africa has been involved for 24 of those years and the carmaker currently allocates R1.36-million per year to the project. Over the years IOL has had the privilege of attending numerous Rally to Read events around the country and we’ve seen first hand the difference it makes.

Although the donation of learning materials is an essential component of the initiative, there is a lot more to it than just dropping off books at schools and forgetting about them. The organisers are highly involved in the training of teachers, which includes numerous follow-up sessions to ensure that the children are receiving the maximum benefit from the materials provided.

Now Ford SA has rolled out the second of its Pretoria-based rallies. It now covers six schools in three different areas surrounding its Silverton Assembly Plant east of Pretoria.

The organisation has also responded to the challenge of transitioning young learners from the Grade 3 foundational phase to the intermediate phase by employing youths in the area who are studying educational qualifications.

“It is truly heart-warming to see the positive impact that Rally to Read has on the children each year that we return to the schools over the three-year cycle,” said Ford’s Transformation Director Esther Buthelezi.

“The improved literacy levels and the love of reading is evident in the learners, while the teachers are better equipped with the skills and tools to provide effective education through each learning phase.”

By now it has become a tradition that Ford employees and local media participate in the delivery of academic material to the schools, and they are always received with warm smiles and gratitude from the children as well as festive song and dance.

In order to keep pace with a tech-driven world, Ford is now also supporting the introduction of a digital literacy programme.

This sees smart projectors being provided to the schools, allowing for lessons to be enhanced by infographics, online videos and real-time information access.

“Education, for us, is not merely an expenditure, it is a meaningful and long-lasting investment in the future of South Africa and our people,” Buthelezi added.

“Ford’s commitment offers hope, not just to learners but also to the communities in which they reside. Our journey continues, one book at a time, one child at a time,” she concluded.

IOL Motoring