Volkswagen Community Trust

Volkswagen hosts third Annual Literacy Conference

06 December 2017

Three years ago the Volkswagen Community Trust launched an ambitious initiative that was aimed at promoting meaningful literacy in the first 10 years of a child’s life. Today, three years later the results show that Volkswagen Group South Africa through the Volkswagen Community Trust are making head way.

The theme for this year’s Conference is "Reading4Meaning“ The Building Blocks. The two main aims of this year’s Conference was to look at the results of the survey conducted with Rhodes University and also to highlight the impact of the interventions which the Community Trust have implemented in the local Uitenhage schools.

This two-day conference started off on 15 November where 200 children from eight local primary schools and 100 parents attended various workshops and programmes. The Legacy Literacy Programme does not only focus on helping and educating children but also on making sure teachers and parents have the tools and the training at their disposal to educate and assist their children. This holistic approach was heralded as a "success“ by Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, who once again attended as a key note speaker.

In her address, Minister Motshekga said „ We know we have a crisis - our children can’t read. So on behalf of the Department I am very pleased to give our sincere thanks to VW for taking action and making a difference in the Uitenhage community. The partnerships being cultivated and the lessons being learnt in this Metro can be used in the education sector and are highly commendable.” said Minister Motshekga.

Executive Mayor Athol Trollip also endorsed the work being done by Volkswagen and said: ”Having the Minister of Basic Education here today is the greatest endorsement for this programme. Education is so critical and we thank Volkswagen for going beyond normal CSI compliance.”

Since the launch of the literacy programme Volkswagen Community Trust together with its partners have developed and implemented a comprehensive literacy programme in five Primary Schools in Uitenhage. This has effectively changed the lives of over 1300 learners and 30 teachers but the actual impact on the community is far bigger than this number. Teaching a child so that they are functionally literate, means that they can read to younger siblings, parents, grandparents who may not be able to read which can open up a world of opportunity to the whole family.

“We will continue to raise awareness of the importance of functional literacy in the foundation phase of learning. The only way we can succeed is if corporates, government, educational institutions and NGO’s work together. The results achieved in the last three years are really encouraging but we have to keep going. If we can continue to have functionally literate and confident Grade 3’s that can read for meaning, move into Grade 4, we have done our job!“ said Schaefer.

VWSA has invested more than R100 million on CSI projects during the Trust’s existence. There has been a strong emphasis on education, youth development, enterprise development, health, community and wellbeing. In addition, environmental initiatives and employee volunteerism have also been focused upon.