Mandela Day celebrations at Chatsworth school

From left, are Grade 7 prefects Nuraan Martin and Barry Smith; principal Elgin Hendricks; director of the University of the Western Capes community engagement unit, Professor Priscilla Daniels; author Manich and Beharilal and Reading and Writing Solutions founder Jeff Paulse.

Reading and Writing Solutions (RWS),anAthlone-based non-profit organisation, has reached out to communities far and wide, and held its Mandela Day outreach at Chatsworth African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Primary School.

Their work has been far-reaching, according to founder Jeff Paulse, because of the Athlone News’ coverage of their events.

On WednesdayJuly18,the organisation, in conjunction with the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) community engagement unit, and Manichand Beharilal Literary Services (MBLS) Publishing, handed over food packs, gift bags, R75 000 worth of books, and RWS volunteers also donated 100 bags of clothing.

Mr Paulse said: “A Chatsworth resident, Una Nel, working in Lansdowne, read about us in the Athlone News. She then contacted me for information about our next workshop, which was held in February. She then sponsored Sheena Mentu, another Chatsworth resident, who serves on the governing body of Chatsworth AME Primary School, to attend our five-day level one RWS training workshop.

“Ms Mentu attended the workshop using public transport from Chatsworth to Parkwood Baptist Church hall. She left her home at 5.30am.

“In appreciation of her commitment to our cause of changing lives and empowering people through reading, I promised her that we would do an outreach at her school.”

Mr Paulse subsequently visited the school to introduce his organisation and did a presentation about the work they do. He also spoke to the organisation’s partners, and arranged the Mandela Day event.

“Manichand Beharilal, a renowned author and chief executive officer of MBLS flew from Johannesburg to be our keynote speaker on Mandela Day and donated R75 000 worth of new books, with the titles Learn about Nelson Mandela and Thembi and Themba visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, to every pupil at the school. The UWC community engagement unit staff and Professor Priscilla Daniels, joined us on the day, issuing each pupil with food packs and gift bags for the staff. Cambridge University Press issued gift bags to each of the 60 RWS volunteer tutors who travelled to Chatsworth with a hired luxury coach. Athlone resident and jazz musician Mervin Hess provided music accompaniment on the day,” Mr Paulse said.

Elgin Hendricks, principal of Chatsworth AME Primary, thanked all the stakeholders for a “successful Mandela Day celebration”.

“Thank you to everyone at Reading and Writing Solutions, MBLS, UWC, Atlas Tours, the school governing body (SGB), teachers and staff, for creating a defining moment, and for making this day special. The school would like to extend a special word of thanks to the author, Mr Beharilal, Jeff Paulse, Professor Daniels, Ms Mentu and Ms Nel for celebrating and honouring the Nelson Mandela legacy at Chatsworth AME Primary.

“We are particularly grateful for the R75 000 worth of books that was donated.The volunteers need special mentioning for inspiring our pupils to develop a love and interest for reading and writing.

“Thank you also to the sponsors and volunteers for the tea and lunch. Thank you to the driver who did not just bring the volunteers and important people to our school, but also for being a part of the objective behind the event. The day would not have been the same without the music that was provided.

“The school will be using the author’s testimony and biography as part of the language components formal assessments for term three. It is through divine intervention that we were able to celebrate books and the legacy of an inspired leader, icon and statesman. Thank you for starting a new partnership with Chatsworth Primary.”