Our Celebrating Partners Project aims to recognise and highlight the work that is done by our implementing partners. We look at how book-sharing has benefited them as an organisation and their beneficiaries. Today we celebrate our partnership with Living Hope.

What started as a grassroots initiative by a local church in the year 2000 is now a multi-faceted, faith-based organisation focusing on community development.

What is Living Hope?

“We’re a Christian ministry and we serve in under-served or under-resourced communities”, explains Sive Vaaltein, the Family Strengthening Manager at Living Hope. Living Hope is based in Cape Town and East London, where they focus on identifying the needs of communities and develop or adopt programmes to respond to the needs. “We’ve got the Family Strengthening programme, which is implementing book-sharing, a Substance Abuse Recovery programme, a Health Care Centre focussing on Intermediate and Palliative Care, an Agricultural Training programme, Life Skills programme and Spiritual services.” These are some of the programmes that Living Hope offers.

The communities in which Living Hope works are “characterised by poverty”. When it comes to young children, Sive acknowledges how important it is for them as an organisation to intervene from an early age. “Our director, Avril Thomas, always says ‘it’s better to build a whole child than mend a broken man’.” Living Hope invests in parents so that they are able to create an environment that will allow children to thrive and grow.

The impact of book-sharing

Book-sharing has supplied Living Hope with a “tool to invest in children and parents”. As an organisation, they have seen the positive impact that book-sharing has had on parents and their children within the communities in which they work.

Not only has book-sharing positively impacted parents and children, but working in communities where the unemployment rates are high – Living Hope has been able to employ eleven facilitators. “That for me was really important,” says Sive.

Puseletso Mofokeng, Mikhulu’s training coordinator, also highlights the fact that Living Hope are keen on finding more facilitators. “Living Hope is one of our partner organisations that are always seeking to train new facilitators – this year we have trained eleven facilitators.” Access to these types of programmes is important. Puseletso gives the example of Masiphumelele; “it is one of the most disadvantaged communities in terms of resources. Parents are facing a lot of unemployment, so they are not able to pay for their kids to go to ECDs or learning programmes.” Book-sharing programmes fill a crucial gap in these communities.

Thembisa Dlamkile is Living Hope’s book-sharing supervisor. She reflects on her book-sharing journey and the positive changes that she has witnessed between parents and children. “They [the parents] feel closer to their children because of book-sharing.”

Steps to building a community of readers

Sive describes Living Hope’s experience with book-sharing as a ‘life changing kind of thing’. The impact of book-sharing has travelled further than the training sessions; “twelve parents requested library cards at their graduation. That was like woah! We’ve done something here. We’ve made an impact!”

So far, thirty three parents and caregivers have been through book-sharing training with Living Hope.

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Contact Info

Early Learning Centre, Athlone, Cape Town, 7764

Phone: +27 72 295 5959

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