Hanging Libraries to 130 ECD Centres

In 2021, the HCI Foundation reached out to us to provide resources to Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres that they are currently supporting. What started as a conversation about how we could support their existing programme developed into a collaborative project that we are incredibly excited about.

Our project aims to support 130 ECD Centres affiliated with eight ECD Training Centres. The Centre’s names are:

  1. Ntataise Trust: Free State and Northwest
  2. Ntataise Lowveld: Mpumalanga
  3. Khanimamba: Limpopo
  4. Lesedi Educare: Free Street
  5. Tshepang Educare: Free State
  6. Centre for Social Development: Eastern Cape
  7. Ubunye Foundation: Eastern Cape
  8. LETCEE: KwaZulu-Natal

Each ECD will receive 20 home language storybooks. These languages include isiZulu, Siswati, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Setswana, Xitsonga, Tshivenda, and Afrikaans. We also included English storybooks to support the learners’ language development further. The ECD Centres also received five educational toys, puzzles and posters to develop their learners’ fine motor skills and support their learning through play.

During our initial discussions with the HCI Foundation, we emphasised the importance of book displays and their role in creating an environment that fosters a love for reading, The HCI Foundation shared our sentiments and stated that an easy-to-hang display would be essential; thus, the idea of the hanging library was formed. We had a vague idea of how we wanted the hanging library to look but had no experience sewing and sourcing the suitable materials needed to create it. HCI Foundation put us in contact with Ikamva Design, the social arm of Ikamva Labantu, and this is where this project took flight. Ikamva Design is a social enterprise that creates job opportunities so that seniors and women crafters can generate extra income, which makes a real difference to their households. This partnership was essential in making our project a success; Ikamva Design helped bring our vision of the hanging library to life. Not only that, but through this project, Ikamva Design was able to employ two women who were co-opted to sew the hanging library.

The simple yet effective design makes the hanging library easy to fold up, carry, and display when needed. This design works perfectly for Family Community Motivator (FCM) practitioners who must carry the books from home to home. The hanging library is a game-changer, and we are excited to incorporate it into our ECD projects.

We have already delivered 90 hanging libraries to six of the Centres. We aim to provide the rest before the end of the year. This project was a collaborative effort between the HCI Foundation, Biblionef and Ikamva Design. We even ensured that the Centres could get involved by ensuring that their donation of books was handpicked to suit their learners’ needs. Nal’ibali has also come on board to voluntarily train the practitioners and facilitators on how to run a reading club and do storytelling. This project is a fantastic example of how different organisations can collaborate to bring about change.