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LANXESS has been hosting the the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Region Rally to Read since 2012. The main highlight of the project is an off-road event where educational material is delivered to inaccessible and under resourced schools in rural areas. A total of 12 schools receive resources valued at over half a million Rands and this initiative benefits approximately 2.000 underprivileged children.
The material, which includes Teacher Training Guides, Box Libraries, stationery, sports equipment, educational toys and school shoes, is transported by rally participants. In 2013, 136 participants who included LANXESS employees and representatives of partner organizations were involved in the rally.
Participants started their day as early as 3am to convene and set off to the schools in a convoy of 43 off-road vehicles that drove on wet roads and in cold weather on mountainous terrain to reach the remote schools. A combined mileage of approximately 30.000 kilometers was covered during this exercise.
According to Carsten Gerdes, Managing Director for LANXESS’ Newcastle site, the project is a practical method of enhancing the quality of education to those schools that are in most need and has shown tangible results.
“The Rally to Read is a profound initiative that has shown substantial results. The collaborative approach between the private sector, Department of Education and an NGO has ensured that there is expert involvement in all the areas that must be addressed to improve literacy levels in rural schools,” said Gerdes.
This initiative forms part of LANXESS’ global Corporate Responsibility strategy which focuses on education as one of its key topics. The objective of the Rally is to improve the quality of education at rural schools as a lot of them lack educational material for both teachers and learners. The Rally is also aimed at enhancing learners’ communication skills and literacy levels. The campaign is run on a three year annual cycle for participating schools.
The NGO partner, Read Foundation in partnership with the Department of Education monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the teacher training received through the project. They work closely with the schools through out the year and ensure the project is in line with the Department of Education’s curriculum.
“This is a project that falls well in line with LANXESS’ global Corporate Responsibility strategy which supports educational interventions such as this one. It is a sustainable project that we are privileged to support,” concludes Gerdes.