Committed to making education accessible to all people

The book club is an organisation founded by young social entrepreneurs, Kwandile Sikhosana and Sarah Madingwana, from Ekurhuleni, in Gauteng.

Compiled by: Blacklight writer

The organisation develops libraries in disadvantaged areas and also helps to put in place infrastructure that insures that the vulnerable and disadvantaged have access to the necessary tools to improve their lives through education.

Through their extensive work with the book club, the pair have won numerous awards and been featured in many publications. Kwandile was also listed in the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2018.

Read more on Kwandile: Young leader’s mission to change SA through books

We spoke to the pair about the organisation and their plans for 2019.

What inspired the Daveyton Book Club?
The Daveyton Book club was inspired by the perception that blacks don’t read. And if they don’t read then what are the underlying problems that are causing this? We then realised that in disadvantaged areas reading is a luxury that they unfortunately cannot attain because of the high cost of books.

And also, based on the lack of income of most black families coupled with their growing needs, such as food and security, books become less of a priority.

Some families living in the townships and rural areas are even faced with poverty, unemployment and other social injustices. So we wanted to develop a program that will solve these issues whilst providing education to prepare people for opportunities that come with a developing country.

Seeing people go from poverty and being uneducated to joining the working class or becoming entrepreneurs through our aid is what inspires us to keep going.

What have been some of the highlights since the inception of the book club?
We have managed to establish fourteen libraries across the country and also trained 500 people in various disciplines, including community development, project management and entrepreneurship. Those are just some of the biggest rewards amongst all the awards that we have won. 

What have been some of your biggest challenges with the organisation and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge that we have experienced as a youth-led initiative has been attracting funding that will ensure that we continue our mandate of establishing more libraries in South Africa, and also work on other models that will lead to sustainability of our initiative.

Our struggles are that of most entrepreneurs in South Africa, which is unfortunate because we are the ones capable of decreasing unemployment, increase productivity and also ensure that we develop an infrastructure to better the South African entrepreneurial landscape.

Why is it vital to have organisations like the Daveyton Book Club in today’s social climate?
There is a growing call for a new breed of entrepreneurs that will not only make profits but will be in the forefront of African development. We as the Daveyton Book Club and other social entrepreneurs need to develop a footprint, or paths which will make this a reality and also create a new breed of people that will – through active citizenship – build a continent worthy of our existence and generations to follow.

So it’s essentially for initiatives like ours to create new innovative ways of combating social ills, bringing solutions that are afro-friendly and ensure that in so doing we build resilient states for the generations to follow. For an example, the right to education will be transgressed if we as an initiative don’t support government in building an infrastructure that can make education accessible to all.

What sort of programmes do you offer and why did you choose those specific programmes?
The Daveyton Book club has training programmes, masterclasses and tutorial classes that help educate and develop our people who don’t have the resources to do so.

And this year we will ensure that we better our systems for people to get the best of services from the initiative. These are important to us as we want to educate, transfer information and bring industry leaders to these areas we serve to impart their knowledge to better communities.

What would you say is your main mission for 2019?
Our mission for the year is to build a resource centre that will house a radio/podcast studio, an online University centre and library, but we will need funding to get this done and that is what we are working towards this year.

We have also partnered with Result Finance and they have helped with a few resources in making this happen. Now we hope to attract other partners, as we still need a lot more resources to make sure the project successfully comes to life and runs efficiently.

We will still continue with our programs but we do need more tutors around Gauteng for Maths, science, accounting and biology.

How can people get involved with the programme?
People can subscribe on our website and follow us on all our social media platforms, and based on the things we mention that we need then they can donate anything they think is relevant to them.

They can also drop us an email for a list of needs and we will gladly communicate with the donors because at times all we need is people to volunteer their time. So it may depend on what is happening around that time. However we definitely need help with developing the centre this year, that’s our priority.

For more info on the Daveyton Book Club:

Twitter: @Ukwandile
Instagram: @daveytonbookclub
Website: daveytonbookclub.wixsite.com

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