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Ford Deepens Commitment to Education with Second Annual R1.36-million Grant for Rally to Read in Pretoria

Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford South Africa, in collaboration with READ Educational Trust (The Rally to Read Projects), have rolled out the second Pretoria-based rally, reinforcing the company’s commitment to educational literacy. As part of the three-year project, Ford Fund provides an annual grant of R1.36-million, benefiting six schools in three different areas surrounding its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.

Ford’s enduring partnership with Rally to Read, which is now in its 25th year, underscores its dedication and shared commitment to improving South Africa’s educational landscape.

“Education, for us, is not merely an expenditure, it is a meaningful and long-lasting investment in the future of South Africa and our people. Ford’s commitment offers hope, not just to learners but also to the communities in which they reside. Our journey continues, one book at a time, one child at a time,” said Esther Buthelezi, Government Affairs and Transformation Director, Ford South Africa.

The Rally to Read Project, a social investment initiative run by the READ Educational Trust, has played a crucial role in shaping South Africa’s educational system. The initiative, facilitated by dedicated READ trainers, focuses on resource delivery, teacher training in language methodologies, teacher digital literacy training and parental support. This is done in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, the School Management Team (SMT),  and the School Governing Body (SGB) providing teachers with necessary training and regular support visits from READ field staff.

The Rally to Read initiative has proven to be a powerful force for positive change, impacting numerous learners, educators, and communities across the country. In addition to that, the recent challenge with the transition from Grade 3 to the intermediate phase has prompted Rally to Read to respond by employing local youths who are studying towards educational qualifications, aiming to support Grade 3 and 4 learners for a smooth transition from Foundation Phase (Grade R to Grade 3) to the Intermediate Phase (Grade 4 to Grade 7.

This second phase of the three-year Rally to Read expands its reach from the Foundation Phase which was focused on last year to the Intermediate Phase in 2024. This support aims to enhance reading abilities, instil confidence, and enrich vocabulary among learners.

“It is truly heart-warming to see the positive impact that Rally to Read has on the children each year that we return to the schools over the three-year cycle,” Buthelezi said. “The improved literacy levels and the love of reading is evident in the learners, while the teachers are better equipped with the skills and tools to provide effective education through each learning phase.”

As has become tradition, Ford employees and local media participated in delivering academic material to the schools. Clad in colourful Ford and Rally to Read collaborative flags, a convoy of Ford Rangers transported the donated libraries, educational and teaching materials to the schools. Principals, teachers, parents and learners from the respective schools received the goods with warm smiles and gratitude.

Ford’s commitment to Rally to Read goes beyond financial support; it is a hands-on venture. The company actively delivers books and educational materials, making a tangible impact on the lives of those who need it most. The initiative has garnered gratitude from principals, teachers, and parents for the donated libraries, educational toys, and teaching materials.

As part of the commitment to continual evolution in a technology-driven world, Ford is supporting the introduction of a digital literacy programme. Smart projectors are provided to the schools to usher in a new era of learning, incorporating infographics, online videos, and real-time information access for a dynamic and modernised educational experience. This is meant to promote a robust foundation to equip learners with essential 21st-century skills necessary for success in today’s rapidly evolving world. Through innovative teaching methods and interactive learning experiences, participants are provided with opportunities to develop critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and digital literacy skills.

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