The KwaFaku Vulindlela Reading Club has always been about expanding the horizons of its young members.
And while the Saturday mornings spent at the clubhouse have opened their eyes and minds to the world beyond Lower Crossroads, Cape Town, going out into the world and exploring it first-hand has not been a regular experience for many of the children.
But that might change as volunteers plan the second of what they hope will be an annual weekend holiday camp for its more than 100 members who are aged between three and 14.
Last December, the young readers, accompanied by volunteers and some parents, packed their bags , just outside the city.
This year, the club's members have set their hearts on Noordhoek Camping Villages in Citrusdal, almost 200km from Lower Crossroads. And they are bringing along their friends from iLiwa Reading Club, a group formed in another part of Lower Crossroads by a volunteer who was inspired by the KwaFaku Vulindlela Reading Club.
"The aim of the camp is to provide new experiences outside of the lived reality of the children as many of them have never gone very far beyond Lower Crossroads and have no first-hand experience of the beautiful land they live in," says Malusi Ntoyapi, one of KwaFaku Vulindlela Reading Club's 11 regular volunteers.
"What is more, as many of our children spend the whole year in the township – they do not get an opportunity to go out and explore nature, and at the same time receive Christmas gifts."
But the club, which runs on donations, needs help raising the more than R100 000 it will need to book a campsite and pay for transport, food, gifts, awards and activities at the camp.
"We have already planned fundraising events. We need to raise R100 000 for 95 people attending the camp. In addition to that, we will be asking our friends to adopt a member to pay for," says Ntoyapi.
The children's parents will also make a small contribution.
A GoFundMe campaign page has also been set up for contributions to help make the weekend camp, for which a deposit has to be paid as soon as possible, a tradition.
"The smile on the children's faces when they got into the bus last year was my highlight," says Nolubabalo Rani, volunteer and chairperson of NPO Ingcambu Neqhayiya Development, which runs the club.
It's a much-needed change of atmosphere for most of the children who come from low-income families, she says.
"The children having to experience a different atmosphere and a plate of food three times a day. Some of them come from families who can barely afford a single meal," says Rani, who adds that the organisation's goal is to ensure that the children of Lower Crossroads reach their full potential.
"We really do not want money to be a reason for any child not to attend the camp," adds Ntoyapi.
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