In 2011, Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory launched the Mandela Day Library Project.
Using repurposed shipping containers, they started setting up libraries for poorly resourced schools. Since the launch of the project, it has succeeded in opening 75 libraries, providing over 71,000 South African children with access to thousands of books.
Today the project also provides infrastructure for early childhood development centres, including classrooms, sickbays, toilet facilities and kitchens.
In total, Breadline Africa has delivered 320 containers to 221 projects in underprivileged communities around South Africa.
Why these libraries are so important
Of the roughly 1,7 million South African children in pre-school, upwards of 60% are considered to be living below the breadline.
In this context, education has a vital role to play. Studies consistently show that early childhood development, using properly equipped and managed facilities, is vital for later cognitive and physical development.
In fact, Breadline Africa estimates that for every R1 invested in pre-school education, the country saves R17 in social and educational costs later on.
Scary South African statistics
Even with achievements like those of the Mandela Day Library Project, 80% of our schools still don’t have adequately stocked libraries.
According to estimates,
- only 35% of children in South Africa can read by the age of 12
- only 54% of primary school children go on to complete secondary school
- more than 4.7 million South Africans are illiterate.
How the Library Project is helping communities
Education isn’t the only way the Mandela Day Library Project is uplifting communities. Involving local people in the process of building libraries provides jobs and can teach valuable skills.
For example, the container conversion process may include waterproofing, painting, electrical wiring and installing windows, doors, security gates and insulation.
Breadline Africa has also trained 117 librarians so far.
A way your company can get involved
Individuals and companies can make direct donations to organisations like Breadline Africa.
Also, at Big Box Containers, we’re happy to work with companies that choose to donate shipping containers or sponsor container conversions as part of their CSI initiatives.
We actively support community projects – providing containers for, among others, Skateistan Johannesburg, the Wine2Whales Crèche Educational Initiative and local projects like the Orange Babies’ Khaya Centre project and the Kabouter Drome Speelskool in Bonteheuwel.
Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.