We are experiencing one of the most severe health threats globally – the coronavirus 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 coronavirus in South Africa.

The impact of Covid 19 on our school children calls for all stakeholders in education to take stock of our current projects and the systems we work in.

What no longer serves us? What wound do we keep dressing without making the fundamental changes needed?

It is time to review, reimagine and even transform education going forward. There are already strong indications that the majority of children will be promoted to the next grade in 2021 not having mastered the skills needed for the previous grade and we do not need to be reminded that the literacy levels in South Africa had already placed them at a huge disadvantage.

In unstable Covid-19 times, Shine Literacy has worked at delivering well-resourced reading support at homes and at schools, and we are providing caregivers and children with invaluable tools to help reduce the literacy gap between high and low achieving learners.

In keeping with the National Development Plan 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 4, we seek to create a culture of reading in South African schools, homes, workplaces and communities, thereby improving literacy outcomes for young children from low-income communities.

It is through our collaborative partnerships with teachers, volunteers and parents, where we endeavor to provide effective and sustained support to children as they learn to read and write, helping to foster a life-long love of books and learning.

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.

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.