As International Literacy Day, 8 September, and South Africa’s National Book Week from 6 to 12 September concluded, Dunlop, the iconic tyre brand had much to celebrate. Dunlop shared the joy of reading with South African families in partnership with NGO Book Dash through its Literacy Day Bedtime Story livestream event hosted on YouTube, raising R56,000 in donations for Book Dash.
Lubin Ozoux, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, which manufactures the Dunlop, Falken and Sumitomo tyre brands, said, “We are always looking to give back and have focused our efforts to drive literacy and education. This was our way of bringing South African families together safely to share in the joy of reading on Literacy Day, while calling upon our wider Dunlop family to raise money to kick start a child’s literacy journey. Book Dash is as passionate as we are on the issue of illiteracy in South Africa and were the ideal partner to make this possible.”
He added, “I want to thank everyone who joined our Bedtime Stories livestream and partnered with us to raise R56000 to get books into the hands of children who need them the most. Together, we have helped to kickstart a child’s life journey one book at a time.”
Special guests passionate about reading at the livestream event included South African musician, Majozi, who read the story of Lory Dory, written by Brendon O’Neill, while Dr Nokubonga Khoza, read a Book Dash Zulu bedtime story, Little Ant’s Big Plan, written by Candice Dingwall. Dunlop employees Itumeleng Majofi and Eugene Oosthuizen completed the line-up with Tortoise Finds His Home, in Sesotho, written by Maya Fowler, and Lesedi’s Sandbox, an Afrikaans book written by Mathapelo Mabaso.
Majozi encouraged the community to donate after reading Lory Dory, sharing the importance of reading in his life. “Some of my fondest memories growing up, involved reading. Whether it was discovering new words or new worlds, reading was and still is, an integral part of my creative foundation starting from a very young age. Reading is so important for the minds of our children,” he said.
Earlier this year, Dunlop sponsored 700 Book Dash books to be distributed to needy children and the Literacy Day Bedtime Story livestream event called upon its employees and extensive dealer network to support its mission to kickstart the literacy journeys of South African children.
Viewers were asked to pay it forward by making an easy Zapper or EFT donation of R30 to Book Dash, which Dunlop matched, which resulted in the R56,000 donation.
Committed to advance inclusive literacy for all South African children
International Literacy Day highlights the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, with the goal to create a more literate society and is in keeping with the tyre brand’s ethos of giving back.
Research shows that children who love reading typically excel at school and go on to become constructive members of society. However, as it stands, eight out of every 10 South African children cannot read properly. This is largely due to not having access to quality, culturally relevant reading material in their home languages. The inability to read makes a lifelong impact, hitting the brakes on how far these children can go in life.
With education as a key pillar of Sumitomo Rubber SA’s corporate social investment strategy, the company supports two Ladysmith schools with learning materials, mentorship and careers days, and recently partnered with Book Dash to create the Dunlop “Are we there yet?” podcast which offers captivating locally inspired audio stories and is available on the Dunlop MyTyres app and other podcast platforms.