Yes, we're celebrating!
Chill the champagne, blow up the balloons and don your dancing shoes! FunDza is now FIVE! We're so proud to have reached this milestone. From humble beginnings - working off Mignon's dining room table five years back - it seems incredible to think that in the last financial year we've been able to reach more than 450,000 online readers, deliver in excess of 20,000 books and 75,000 pocket booklets to 250+ beneficiary groups across the country, publish more than 1,000 individual pieces of Fanz creative writing work, and test our new online reading courses with 300+ young people in the Western Cape and Gauteng!
Here's to five years worth of gratitude to all the individuals, groups and organisations that have helped us along the way.
... To all of our funders - big and small - thank you for believing in us and investing in our mission to get young South Africans reading (and writing). Very special thanks goes to our first funders - the DG Murray Trust, the Claude Leon Foundation and The Learning Trust - who took that first plunge with us. Your support meant that we could start rolling out our programme work properly.
... To our partners across the country. Thank you to the beneficiaries for keeping the FunDza flame alive and for spreading the love of reading to thousands of young people, whether in rural villages or townships. And, thank you to the tech partners who help us to scale our efforts and reach young people in the place they spend so much time - on their cellphones.
... To our thousands of faithful fundza.mobi readers. Thank you for continuing to come back for more stories, for keeping us on our toes and ensuring that we do produce quality content throughout the year. We love your enthusiastic comments and critical feedback - it adds to the vibrancy of our online work.
... To all of our writers (both professional and aspirant Fanz), editors, translators and other content providers. Without you we wouldn't have the content that draws a crowd. You put a lot of the FUN in FunDza!
... To our FunDza people, who keep the wheels moving every day! A huge thank you for your dedication, creative energy and passion to do great things. It is a privilege to work with you all.
This weekend we're doing a strategy review with staff and board members to reflect on where we've come from and to work out where to focus our efforts for the next five years. The need to grow an increasingly literate and educated youth population is vital. The ability to read, comprehend, write, think and communicate effectively lies at the heart of this. And, according to education researcher, Nic Spaull, reading is the biggest solvable problem in South Africa. Read his great analysis piece here.
We look forward to playing our part in creating a literate and reading nation. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
With love and gratitude,
Mignon, Dorothy, Ros, Zimkhitha, Phoebe, Nandi, Ndibulele, Sonja, Siki, Lebo, Baleseng, Andrew, Rethabile and Steve