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New storybooks for thousands of children

Graca in the library

Press release, Cape Town, 14 May 2015

On 27 May, children’s centres across the Helderberg, Grabouw and the Cape’s Winelands will begin receiving free children’s books. The give-away project, funded by home-fittings company Decorland, is a partnership of Book Dash, Masikhule, and several organisations working with underprivileged children. It will provide 5000 books in Xhosa, Afrikaans and English, developed by some of Cape Town’s leading creatives, to Early Childhood Development centres and primary schools. 

Co-founder of Book Dash Arthur Attwell says this is the young organisation’s largest book give-away yet. “Our volunteers are creative pros who do the work of publishers for free, so that we can minimise the cost of new, African storybooks, and make big give-aways like this possible.” Once the books are developed, Book Dash relies on donors to cover printing costs, and works with literacy organisations to get the books to children. “We’re thrilled to be working with Decorland and Masikhule,” says Attwell, “they really know how to get things done.”

Bronwyn Mc Allen, Brand Manager at Decorland, explains that the company is dedicated to Early Childhood Development. “We make sure our social investment has direct impact,” she says. “We know that books boost young minds, and enable crucial interaction between children, caregivers, and older siblings. And this is a great way for us to support the work of organisations like Masikhule.”

Masikhule is collaborating with the Anna Foundation, Halli Trust, Pebbles Project, Thembalitsha and Via Volunteers, who run ECD centres and school programmes in periurban and farming communities. Sandy Immelman, head of communications at Masikhule, says opportunities to give lots of new, South African books to children are rare. “It’s so important that children recognise their own lives in their books, and can read them in their own languages.”

This winter, many more children will be enjoying their new books, kindling a lifelong passion for reading, learning and dreaming.

Further info

For more information and photographs, contact Michelle Matthews: michelle@bookdash.org and 082 92 111 01.

About Book Dash

Book Dash gathers volunteer creative professionals to create new, African storybooks that anyone can freely download, translate, print and distribute. Founded in May 2014, Book Dash has published 17 original titles and helped print more than 10 000 books, stories in national newspaper supplements, and ebooks. Book Dash stories have been translated into eight languages, with the help of partners Na’libali and African Storybook Project. Our vision is that every child should own a hundred books by the age of five. Visit www.bookdash.org.

About Decorland

Decorland is the leading window décor company that specialises in blinds, curtains, curtain rods and all other window décor accessories. There are dedicated Decorland sales consultants in every store that offer advice, assistance and enhance the customer experience. Decorland is exclusive to all Game stores nationwide. Visit www.decorland.co.za.

About Masikhule

Since 2005, Masikhule has offered its services to the poorest communities of the Helderberg in the Western Cape and has made significant inroads in the upgrading of ECD centres and the training of staff, volunteers and young mothers on the importance of Early Childhood Development and stimulation. Masikhule mentors and helps develop 30 ECD Centres which educate and nurture in excess of 1800 children (aged birth to 6 years) annually. Visit www.masikhule.org.