We are experiencing one of the most severe health threats globally – the Corona Virus which has had an impact on all aspects of our lives and posed great challenges to South Africa’s education system.

It has disrupted the ‘normal’ lives of many children, their parents, caregivers, and teachers. With the vast inequalities in a country like ours, the impact of the pandemic will be deeply felt and will have amplified and long-term consequences.

Shine Literacy has been guided by two principles that have influenced our decisions of what to do in light of the pandemic.

  1. The health and safety of our volunteers, the children we work with, and our team.
  2. Our collective responsibility to slow the spread of Corona Virus in South Africa.

Right now we can only take our cue from government regulations. As a result, our centres in the schools remain closed and all training workshops are on pause.

In the meantime, we are busy ensuring that our Shine Literacy Hour Programme can be used as an EFAL Programme (English First Additional Language). Our focus has also been on making multilingual learning resources available to teachers, parents and caregivers.

We also pledge our support to the ongoing strategies and resources being made available to promote remote learning in order to reduce the impact that the pandemic has on education.

As an organisation, we are concerned with how this impact will be felt disproportionately by low-income communities, especially children missing out on their important meal of the day that they would usually get at school.

We have partnered with the Wynberg CAN community and together we have been able to raise funds and deliver a weekly food parcel to feed 130 families in the Bonnytoun settlement over the last few weeks. Please consider joining us in this cause and help those in need by donating here.

Government regulation will make it mandatory for everyone working in a school including school children to wear a mask. Our concern is that the majority of parents cannot afford to buy masks for children. Please consider making a donation to ensure that every child in a Shine Literacy school will have two cloth masks of their own. You can donate here and put the word ‘mask’ as a reference so we can set this donation aside for this cause.

Our website has been zero-rated so that you can support children in your home or immediate community without having to worry about the cost of data. Below we have rounded up some online learning and support resources for you. We will be adding our own open-source resources in the next few weeks.

A few resources:

The Department of Basic Education has put together online resources for parents, caregivers and learners to support learning at home. The resources can be accessed here.

Book Dash has hundreds of books and other resources made available on their website to help build children’s creativity and critical thinking skills.

Here is a child-friendly and educational COVID-19 brochure.

Amazon has cancelled the subscription of books and audio stories for children and students of all ages. Children everywhere can now instantly stream this incredible collection of stories.

UNESCO has published a list of educational applications, platforms, and resources aimed to help parents, teachers, schools and school administrators to facilitate learning and provide social care and interaction during periods of school closure.

AMI Digital is offering free access to a range of digital language materials for children aged 3 to 6, some of which are also suitable for older children. You can access the free resources here.

The READ Educational Trust has released a series of free downloadable activities for parents and learners to use at home.

Open Culture has provided a list of free educational resources for K-12 students (kindergarten through high school learners) and their parents and teachers.

Read the National Association of Social Change Entities’ (NASCEE) response to the Department of Education’s plan to reopen schools based on the Standard Operating Procedures for containment and management of COVID-19.

Wordworks has a free mobile app with early language and literacy materials for parents of young children (birth to 5 years) and a range of other free learning resources is available on their website

FunDza’s Reading for Meaning resources are available via WhatsApp. All you need to do is send “hello” to 0600 54 8676. You will get access to Fundza stories and resources for teachers & parents.

Visit the official South African Government Covid-19 resource portal here.

Garth Newman Psychology is offering free therapy resources and online therapy sessions. You can access them here. 

Take a look at the Corona Virus Orientation Guidelines for schools here. The guidelines are designed to orientate staff and learners to the many fundamental changes to the school learning environment.

Access this series of step-by-step guides and animations for healthcare workers, care staff and teachers in response to COVID-19.

A legal support hotline is available for potential human rights violations during the lockdown. To report any human rights violations, you can call the legal support line at +27 66 076 8845. Or the Child Emergency Line which can be reached for free at 0800 123 32.