This year the Rally to Read will again see several corporate partners and volunteers take to the road to address the inadequate literacy skills of rural South African children in all nine provinces. Rally to Read is a comprehensive and multi-pronged development programme focused on literacy which includes enabling the promotion of reading, writing and general communication among learners. The initiative is held in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and the READ Educational Trust.
Research shows that the reading skills level of grade five learners in a rural South African school is not comparable with that of an international grade four learner. Without effective reading and writing skills, these children are unlikely to complete high school, which limits their prospects of finding jobs or getting a tertiary education.
Rally to Read started in 1998 when the Human Sciences Research Council approached Bidvest subsidiary, McCarthy Motor Group, for assistance with vehicles to reach some of the most remote rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal to study the availability and provision of school resources to schools in remote rural areas. Today, 16 years later, it is positioned as one of Bidvest’s flagship corporate social investment initiatives. The main objective: to provide literacy and educational resources to primary schools in rural areas across the country. In 2013 Rally to Read reached 1 358 teachers and 40 581 pupils.