Changemaker: Takudzwa Makuwa
Country of Implementation: South Africa
The ability to read and write is one of the fundamental cornerstones of personal development needed to progress in society, political participation, and self-expression. However, in South Africa, we have a huge challenge in reading. We know that pupil results indicate that 81% of our children cannot read by the time they reach grade 4, which has massive implications for curriculum change because, in grade 4, it is assumed that children know how to read; thus, they are no longer taught how to read. If they do not know how to read, they will fall behind. But in Makhanda, we have a unique opportunity because recent studies this year show that 40% of children in our city can read for meaning, which is half or 50% more than the national average. So, something good is happening. The indication that we are performing better than the national average gives us hope that we can increase reading potential for children at a much faster rate than in other parts of the country. The national reading panel has stated that it will take us until 2063 to
get the children reading for meaning at the current rates. So, it is in this context with the challenges I have outlined that BuddingQ exists to create a solid literacy foundation for young children. It is the Student Leaders and Student volunteers from Rhodes University who have been our biggest drivers of this change because they offer the social capital and the boots on the ground to be the changemakers through the implementation of BuddingQ. They are the ones who implement the programs and train other students, and that’s how we saw this massive change. Student Leaders are fundamental to the management of the engaged citizen program and the success of the engaged citizen program like BuddingQ.