CSD at WordFest
The National Arts Festival, now in its 37th year, has proved its sustainability and has grown to be one of the leading arts festivals in southern Africa. Its objectives are to deliver excellence; encourage innovation and development in the arts by providing a platform for both established and emerging South African artists; create opportunities for collaboration with international artists; and build new audiences. Thousands of people have descended on Grahamstown to experience 10 days of Amazing. On the Fringe programme, Wordfest is a festival of language and literature.
Some of the Self-Help Groups initiated and coordinated by CSD are exhibiting the wares at Wordfest. The Self Help Group concept is commonly defined as a group of people coming together for the common purpose of saving and loaning each other money from their savings. SHGs remain the only hope for low income households to participate in some kind of saving and micro finance scheme. In South Africa, SHGs have a huge potential for promoting sustainable livelihood through access to credit and savings for poor low income households that hugely dependent on state grants. These groups were initiated by CSD trained Community Facilitators who are also providing mentoring support and guidance to them on an ongoing basis.
This event allows them to showcase their talents and generate income from the sales of the products. Knitted mohair shawls, hats, gloves, beaded crafts, painting and an ointment made from natural ingredients are just some of the products made by these community women.
Picture inset: Members of a Self Help Group at their table during Word Fest.
The CSD is involved in literacy, emergent literacy in particular, in a number of ways:
- The CSD has trained the CDPs and SHGs in the family literacy programme. The CDPs and SHGs implement aspects of this training in their work.
- At Wordfest each year, the CSD organises a number of special events for young children, focusing on emergent literacy. In 2009 Swedish volunteers organised reading programmes for children at the Fingo library and at Eden Grove on Rhodes campus. In 2008, Sarah Jackson, an American volunteer organised reading and emergent literacy activities at Wordfest for pre-schoolers.
- Emergent literacy is an essential theme in all ECD training that the CSD provides.
- The CSD is an active member of the Grahamstown Literacy Project.
- The CSD acts as a distributor of donated books both from individuals and through organisations such as Biblionef.
- The CSD was a crucial partner in establishing the Fingo Village Library – a thriving community library located at the Raglan Road MPCC
The world of books!