The South African branch of Dutch multinational engineering and electronics conglomerate Philips has made learning easier for children at the Lion Park Primary School near Zandspruit.
Having already installed lighting in more than 60 schools around the continent, including Lion Park Primary School, the company also donated a much-needed library, officially handed over on Monday 2 December, to the school.
While installing lighting at the school earlier this year Philips’s staff members noticed a room filled with old and damaged books; they felt more could be done to improve pupils’ learning experiences.
Much to the joy of Girly Lehlokwa, principal at Lion Park Primary School, a colourful shipment container fitted with wooden flooring, lighting, tables, chairs and most importantly, relevant reading material for the pupils arrived at the school in late November.
“This library promises to bring life and education to every learner which in turn will give back to the community because we will be able to give learners books to take home and read . . .” says Lehlokwa.
“. . . we intend to engage the parents and other community members who can read to come and assist us in the library when they can”.
The library holds some 2000 novels, poetry books and children’s stories, which included The Martian and the Kudu by R. Marsh, Mfana Mischief by T.D. Motsau and The Tsitsa River and Beyond by Russell Kaschula.
“Because we have taken English as a home language we found that most of our learners struggle with the subject, with vocabulary being one of their major difficulties,” says Lehlokwa. “Being able to actually open a book and read it will improve their vocabulary and actually allow us to nurture a love for books.”
Lehokwa intends to start a community book review club to encourage a love for reading.
COMMITMENT TO UPLIFTMENT
Juan van Dongen, chief executive officer and senior vice president for Philips Africa, was present to hand the library over to the school. He said, “We have a number of programmes at Philips, one of them is around lighting and the other involves education, both aimed at supporting and uplifting certain communities.
“We do this because as a company we believe we have a social responsibility to uplift communities and have a positive impact; we have a number of visions in terms of supporting communities. One is around clean lighting, clean water and about clean cooking across Africa.
“We develop products in that regard but we’re also developing certain programmes where we work with government to actually encourage that.
“The children at this school could grow up to be doctors, politicians, industry leaders and possibly future presidents of our country and if we can make a difference to one child’s life then our efforts in our eyes are worthwhile.”