September 2015 – Children in the Wilderness (CITW) has embarked on a new partnership with the Dūcere Foundation, aimed at enhancing literacy levels in children across Africa by promoting story writing, creative writing and the capturing of oral tradition through the Dūcere African Children’s Stories Programme.
“A key aspect of our CITW programme is focused on creating an environment in which Africa’s next generation of leaders can thrive, and improving creative-writing skills and confidence levels plays a key part in this. We are extremely excited about this partnership with Dūcere Foundation which ties in perfectly with CITW’s goal of helping children to develop skills that will benefit them throughout their lives”, says Dr Sue Snyman, CITW Programme Director.
The Dūcere African Children’s Stories Programme aims to provide an African alternative in terms of children’s literature – one that is more relevant to everyday life in rural southern Africa. Seven collections have been published so far, featuring stories written by children in Botswana and Zambia. These are available for purchase in Australia and online, and the funds are used to distribute the books in southern Africa.
The collaboration between CITW and Dūcere kicked off with a story-telling competition, in which CITW Eco-Club members from schools across southern Africa were invited to submit their own stories and poems. From these, several will be selected to be included in various Dūcere African Children’s Stories Collections.
Makuleke community Eco-Club members who live next to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, responded with a great deal of enthusiasm, submitting more than 60 poems and stories. CITW Regional Coordinator, Bongani Baloyi, together with Dūcere Foundation’s Regional Project Director, Terri Irvin, recently visited the community to work more closely with the children whose stories have been selected for possible publication. The visit was supported by a team of 11 CITW Eco-Mentors, who were trained on how to help children expand, rewrite and edit their stories. A total of 29 stories have been selected for the final adjudication stage.
Once the final selection has been made by the Dūcere Foundation office in Australia, Irvin will return to the village to launch the published collection.
“We can’t wait to see the final collection featuring the creative talents of our CITW Eco-Club members, who have all put in so much time and effort in order to share their stories with the world,” concludes Snyman.