President Ramaphosa recently highlighted the importance of literacy in his June 2019 State of the Nation Address? He said: “All other [educational] interventions will not produce the results we need unless we first ensure that children can read.” Hollard InstaStoryBooks takes up this challenge by using social media to create much-needed storybooks for young children – and you can contribute one, too.
Learning to read at an early age is essential for the cognitive development people need to cope in the modern age – and enjoy better futures. But South Africa is in the grip of a reading crisis. The 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) study found that a staggering 78% of Grade 4 children could not read for meaning in any language and our country scored last out of the 50 countries surveyed.
The learning crisis
This crisis was highlighted by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his 2019 State of the Nation address when he promised better educational outcomes – specifically mentioning that 10-year-olds will be able to read for meaning. There are many reasons for this dire situation, one of the most important being a lack of access to books. Until now. Using social media to print and publish books for kids
In a first-of-its-kind program Hollard, together with children’s development initiative Kago Ya Bana, is turning to social media to create children’s books – and it’s calling on all South Africans to produce their own stories, which can be put into the hands of South Africa’s needy youngsters. The Hollard InstaStoryBooks program harnesses Instagram’s Stories feature in a vivid and engaging way. Users of the social media platform are invited to write a short story and develop artwork, which they can use to create their own Instagram Story.
Hollard will then turn the stories into physical, foldable 10-page storybooks that will be distributed to underprivileged children. The storybooks will also be available online, for anyone to print out for themselves at home. “Hollard’s purpose is to enable more people to create and secure better futures for people – and with good reason,” says Heidi Brauer, chief marketing officer for the Hollard Group. “Everything we do, and how we do it, is tested against this ideal.” The Hollard InstaStories is an ideal example of how this “better futures” mindset translates into practice, Brauer continues.
Make a difference
How books create better futures for children “By making the most – somewhat ironically – of a digital platform such as Instagram, we can create the kinds of physical reading resources that are in such short supply in South Africa, where more than half of the people live below the poverty line,” she says. “In providing small children with books, we help to instill a love of reading, which is vital for their futures and something they will likely pass on to their own children one day. We assist in their cognitive development at a critical time in their lives, helping them to develop language processing abilities, verbal and visual memory, and problem-solving skills. And we fire up their imaginations in the process.”
Biance Bozzone, enterprise incubator head for Kago Ya Bana, comments that the Hollard InstaStoryBooks program fits perfectly with its mission to provide children up to the age of nine with the nutrition and early development resources they need to grow up healthy and better prepared for their own futures. “At Kago Ya Bana, we’re always looking for new ways to help children reach their fullest potential. With such a small number of children having access to reading material, we’re excited about the InstaStoryBooks program’s potential to gather so many creators from across the country together, with the one common goal of creating books for kids,” says Bozzone.
How you can help
Create your own InstaStoryBook – and make a difference Instagram’s Instagram Stories feature is designed to be easy to apply, with users able to quickly produce and layout their own stories, including text, imagery, video and visual effects. Hollard is challenging all South Africans to create their own InstaStoryBooks and share them so that they can be printed and distributed to those who need them most: the children who are our country’s future. The Hollard InstaStoryBooks program is currently in progress, with a collection of books already in production. Find out exactly how you can make your own InstaStoryBook on the Hollard website, and submit yours to the Hollard Instagram account.