This project has been in our minds throughout lockdown when it was imperative to get material out there as fast as possible – and to make it appropriate, suitable and enough to keep children of different ages interested and occupied during seven months (as it turned out) of restriction. It wasn’t easy for anybody, but it may have been most difficult of all for the children. Too young enough to fully comprehend, and yet old enough to know that everything had changed in their world.
The worst of that time is hopefully past us. Now we are building a relationship with those children that does not depend on the close physical contact we may no longer have with them. Possibly next year, but certainly not now. No workshops! Fortunately, we have a core group of children and our most loyal and competent facilitator, Vuyo Siza, to build a bridge to reading at home in the meantime.
We are beginning the Happiness Project with a request for registration by the children, with their parents. We need to formalize our input and make sure that everybody understands the basic requirements. Only children who register will be eligible for the reading packages each week, the carefully chosen books in the Book Club Box – and the occasional treats that are part of the Happiness Project. (During Lockdown, these included a gift of detailed colouring books from Rotweil in Germany as well as 800 books donated by Book Dash. Both of these were enthusiastically welcomed and continue to be read and used.) We begin next week, and registration proceeds apace.
We are also being a bit stricter about age groups – and will look for other ways to interest the younger children who turn up in little droves at every workshop. They can’t read yet! Most of our activities were therefor impossible for them and we founded a mini-CBN named, by them, Little CBN. We will look at something like that again as soon as the Happiness Project is properly launched. This will include Grades 5, 6 and 7 – and Grade 4 for some good readers of that age.) (Children between 9 and 11 years of age).
There is also the issue of new children who have arrived in Stanford from Eastern Cape … CBN is going to be busy.