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That, according to Ling Dobson, Festival founder and CEO of event sponsor Pam Golding Knysna& Plett, is the main aim of the Festival Youth programme. “The festival was initiated by a strong desire to engage with the younger community, to allow their ‘Imagination to take flight’ through writing of short stories, poems and essays.”
“The Festival hosted a writing competition every year for the last 10 years in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa for kids in the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay area. Approximately 2000 Primary & High schools learnersfrom 25 schools took part to date,” said Dobson.
To stimulate literary awareness, focusing on both the skill and sheer enjoyment of writing, the Festival also started to host unique workshops with FunDza in 2015.
“Over the past few years we have reached learners in community schools in Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Rheenendal, Karatara and Sedgefield. Nearly 1000 learners have benefited from these workshops designed to instill and inspire interest and enhance writing skills and to assist them in expressing themselves.”
The workshops, facilitated by the Cape Town NGO FunDza, have been hosted in English and Afrikaans, with approx 20 – 40 children at each workshop. Ling said the FunDza Literacy Trust is a South African nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy among teens and young adults. “Their motto is that education provides the foundation for a healthy, stable, growth-oriented society, and that literacy is its cornerstone.”
“Literacy is a powerful tool with lifelong benefits. Reading books and stories influences one’s choices, it gives value to lives, it enhances critical and creative thinking and encourages personal development.”
She said the Festival will be hosting various events during the year as fundraisers towards continued writing workshops. “After our last Literary Liaison Panel discussion we were thrilled to raise enough money towards a full bursary for 2019 at a local school. We want to thank the public for their support as without that it would not be possible to give back to our community.”
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