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Education | 28 February 2017

From Readers to Leaders!

Here at the Cotton On Foundation, we’re all about quality education and we’ve recently partnered with Worldreader to deliver an innovative and fun learning solution to some of the remote communities that we currently partner with in Southern Uganda and South Africa! Worldreader is a global nonprofit that believes everyone can be a reader. They provide children, students, and their families with access to an extensive digital library via e-readers and mobile phones.

Why quality education is so important to us!

We believe that by providing children with access to quality education, we can help break the cycle of poverty and contribute towards building healthy and sustainable futures for the communities that we operate in.

In Africa, over 48 million youth aged between 15 and 24 are illiterate and more than 1 in 3 adults cannot read and write. (1) This means that 182 million adults have not fully developed basic literacy skills. (2) A shortage of literacy resources and materials contributes to this significantly. Many schools in Uganda have very few or even no books at all, including some of the primary schools that we have recently begun working with.

So, what exactly is an e-reader?

Earlier this month we distributed 50 Worldreader e-readers in Kyalulangira Primary School, Southern Uganda in partnership with Worldreader’s program to promote digital reading in schools. The devices are loaded with up to 100 digital books containing locally relevant material for primary aged students and are even charged by solar power! By bringing modern technology to the classroom, we are one step closer to delivering world-class quality education.

Digital technology offers a cost effective solution to the learning barriers that some developing countries currently face. The benefits of e-readers are endless really, new content can but updated almost instantly as students work through current material, there is no printing, plus they are extremely durable!

Our Education Developer, Sarah, was on the ground in Uganda for the roll out of the program and was joined by Worldreader trainer Martine, who delivered a full day of training to two local project champions. Over four days, teachers and students began using the devices, followed by a community launch where children were able to read stories to their parents. And we hear that the students love them!

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Sarah says, “the e-reader program isn’t one that is being done in isolation, it is part of a wider focus on literacy development in early childhood education, and is soon to be supported with an extensive provision of hard copy literary materials.” It really is hard to believe that only a year ago, Kyalulangria Primary School didn’t have books at all, now they have thousands to choose from!

A big thanks to the Planet Factorie Foundation and our Australia and New Zealand teams who continue to support the school and recently raised funds for the roll out of this exciting new program.

Due to that success, a further 50 e-readers were distributed in Ethekwini Primary School in Kwa Mashu, South Africa last week!

Being our first experience using a digital reading program with Worldreader, we are excited to monitor the success of this pilot over the next six months, with a vision to implement the activity in Mannya, Busibo, Namabaale and other redeveloped outreach schools that we currently partner with in Southern Uganda.

To learn about our partners on this project, Worldreader, head over to their website to find out more about how they are working towards a future where everyone can b e a reader! 

 

References

1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. “Adult and Youth Literacy" UIS Fact Sheet. September 2014.

2. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Adult and Youth Literacy: National, Regional and Global Trends, 1985-2015. June 2013.

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The Cotton On Foundation is the Cotton On Group’s philanthropic arm, funding projects in Australia and overseas through a unique partnership with customers and employees. We have a number of designated initiatives currently underway and unfortunately are unable to support additional projects at this time.

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