Bridgestone South Africa

Bridgestone brings happy feet in Rally to Read

Jul 01, 2014

It was a happy day for children in the Eastern Cape recently, when Bridgestone donated 200 pairs of shoes, two library boxes and R1000 for school lunches during a Rally to Read outreach event.

"Rally to Read reached over 1300 teachers and over 40 000 pupils during 2013," said Bridgestone PR Manager, Desirée van Niekerk. "We're very proud to have been part of the 2014 Rally to Read season," she added.

Rally to Read was started in 1998 and aims to tackle problems of inadequate literacy, especially in rural areas. Reading, writing and general communication depend on good literacy and many of South Africa's schools don't have enough library books to ensure that children are able to improve their reading skills and broaden their horizons. Each Rally to Read event involves teams of sponsors who drive to schools in order to distribute learning material. It is a reality of rural schools especially that many children suffer from inadequate nutrition which can affect concentration and learning ability, and school meals fill a vital need for such children. Clothing and shoes are also often in short supply, and children often have to walk long distances barefoot to get their education.

Bridgestone's representatives on the Eastern Cape event were Amanda Gerber and Keith Gibbs from the tyre maker's Port Elizabeth plant. Their route took them to the greater Whittlesea area, first to Lower Didimana school, which has 200 children, and then to Hukuwa School with its 180 children. Excitement ran high at both schools, highlighting the great difference which Rally to Read makes in the lives of the children.

It was not only the children who were excited, but the parents and teachers too. "Teachers in rural areas face unique challenges and Rally to Read empowers them to do their jobs more effectively," commented van Niekerk. "We're grateful to have been there and we hope our small contribution will make a positive difference to education in South Africa," she concluded.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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