R1.2m library extension huge boost for township pupils
By Jo-Anne Smetherham | Cape Times, 20th March 2009.
FOREIGN donors have paid for the building of a public library in Masiphumelele, providing a venue also for literacy programmes, homework clubs, computer lessons and other activities that can help students pass at school. Now, the Rotary Club of Newlands has found local funders to pay for a R1.2 million extension.
Local ward councillor Felicity Purchase hailed the library American-backed organisation Masicorp funded as "a perfect example of how things can work in our townships if we have the co-operation of the extended communities".
Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the extension on Tuesday, she said the city did not have the funds to provide facilities like the library in every area. "The demands are huge, and growing all the time," she said.
" We have had lots of motivation from our librarians, but without Masicorp, we would not be here today. It is partnerships like these that are going to develop our communities."
On Tuesday afternoon, the library was abuzz with students clustered around tables, playing chess, reading books and doing their homework, almost every group helped by a volunteer. "The library has definitely helped me get a better matric," said Thulisa Mayekiso, who now volunteers at the library to help others.
" I am sure this place is the reason I passed maths. Our homes are shacks, and it's hard to concentrate there, so we used to come to the library every day after school, and sometimes we would stay here, learning with the volunteers even after the library closed."
Masicorp has also built accommodation in Masiphumelele and paid for many education bursaries. It has pledged to pay for the library's running expenses until 2017.
The first phase of the library cost about R120 000 and an adjacent park about R60 000. Rotary has raised about R1.2m for the extension, R750 000 of it from the Peninsula Beverage Company and R450 000 from Exclusive Books. "We'll raise the rest of the money needed," said Trevor Tyers of the Newlands Rotary group.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a great supporter of Rotary, he said.
" We're up for anything. Bring on the next project and we'll go and speak to Bill Gates," said an upbeat Tyer.