Each Monday and Wednesday afternoon during UCT term-time, volunteers from SHAWCO travel to Walter Teka Primary School in Nyanga as part of the Little Moon project. Little Moon, or Nyangana, is an initiative of the student-run non-governmental organisation that helps to foster a literary culture among grade 1, 2 and 3 pupils in the impoverished area.
First established as a pilot project, but now a permanent fixture on SHAWCO Education's roster, Nyangana is currently in its third year of operation. Volunteers use drama, storytelling, songs, games, reading and "any other methods that spark the interests of these 90 young children to bring literacy to life for them", says Julia Norrish, the Little Moon project leader for 2013.
Much of the interaction takes place in the pupils' mother tongue, isiXhosa.
"We believe that the incorporation of mother-tongue education is key when wanting to inspire young children to learn," says Norrish.
"One of the things we strongly believe in at Little Moon is that productive learning cannot happen on an empty stomach," Norrish adds.
Little Moon provides warm meals for the children before every session, which are sourced at a relatively low cost from hunger-relief organisation Stop Hunger Now.
On 16 May, the Little Moon committee and SHAWCO Education will host a 'packaging' event with Stop Hunger Now at which 360 meal-bags (each meal-bag feeds six children) for the pupils will be prepared. Norrish is appealing to the UCT community to lend a hand on the day.
"We are calling on volunteers from UCT to help us not only in packing the food, but also in raising funds to pay for the food," says Norrish. "Just R10 covers the cost of one meal-bag, and we welcome passers-by to donate this on the day."
Little Moon aims to raise R5 400, which will cover food costs until the end of 2013.
Interested parties can contact the Little Moon project via email. Alternatively, donors are welcome to visit the SHAWCO office on Level 5 of the Steve Biko Building on UCT's Upper Campus.
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