Suzuki Auto is proud to be involved in their first Rally to Read, an initiative whereby corporate and private sponsors donate and deliver educational material to rural schools all over South Africa. In addition to books and stationery, the funds are used for teacher training in these rural areas, as well netball and soccer balls.
In this ‘hands-on’ exercise, sponsors were up and at their first meeting place well before dawn; they pack the vehicles with educational material and toys, and then off to the first briefing [which in the case of the KZN rally, took place at Treverton School in Mooi River. Mr Brand Pretorius, CEO of McCarthy South Africa, explained to us why he has such a passion for education in the country, and why he, in conjunction with Financial Mail and the READ Educational Trust, started the rallies to educate the poorest of the poor in rural South Africa.] The sponsors then travel into the remotest parts of South Africa – with some of the most beautiful scenery – to deliver the books. Visitors are met by members of the community, school governing body members, the principal of the school, and the children themselves. The excitement at meeting their urban visitors is almost tangible.
Once all the equipment is unloaded, the schools proudly show off what they have already learnt, take visitors on a tour of the classrooms, set up mock lessons and even entertain with cultural dances.
Each school receives a three year sponsorship, and the rally goes back once a year during that time to deliver science equipment and then more reading material. The READ Educational Trust follows up with the schools to ensure they are following the programme, and that they are taking advantage of the opportunities offered to them.
Comments from the Suzuki staff & guests
Charl Grobler, Assistant Brand Manager: “It was an eye-opening experience to see how the schools make so much from so little.”
Gail Grobler: “I was impressed by how well behaved the children were; they were sitting in the hot winter sun, waiting for their visitors, and then sat through the formalities with barely a sound.”
Megan MacDonald, Marketing & PR Coordinator: “It’s extremely humbling to see the excitement & enthusiasm of the learners, who are getting something we in the urban areas take so for granted.”
Karen Frerichs: “Accompanying Suzuki on the Rally to Read experience was a humbling but thoroughly enjoyable experience. The welcome we received at the schools clearly showed the positive effect this project has had on the entire community.”