Konica Minolta South Africa has converted a light commercial vehicle into a mobile library, providing children who do not have access to books in their schools and communities with the opportunity to improve their literacy skills – a necessary tool to function in society, find a good job and nourish problem solving as well as the imagination.
The fully kitted out Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, purchased by the company from McCarthy Kunene in Witbank, has been entrusted to The Edu-Care Foundation, a non-profit organisation that through its R.E.A.D. (respect, education, attitude and discipline) initiative assists children in the foundation phase to improve their reading ability.
“The mobile library is the first of its kind and will service the Gauteng area, ranging from the West Rand to the East Rand and even a school in Hammanskraal,” says project initiator Laetitia Coetzer, special projects manager at Konica Minolta South Africa. She adds that it will also function as a study centre at certain rural area schools where there are no study facilities.
Although projects such as the Mandela Day Library has set up libraries using converted shipping containers at various schools, the mobile library extends that work and adds a unique element in that it can service up to 20 schools a month.
“As a Bidvest Group company, Konica Minolta South Africa has encouraged other organisations within the group to take part in the project. For this reason, Kolok sponsored the consumables for the printer in the mobile library, Bid Financial Services has insured the vehicle and Bidtrack will provide vehicle tracking, recovery and fleet management services,” says Coetzer.
Konica Minolta South Africa has also donated a sum of money to buy books and a laptop to be used as a research facility for subjects such as history, science and geography. With the help of one of its suppliers it has also created cheerful artwork on the body of the vehicle.
Achmat Dangor, chief executive at the Nelson Mandela Foundation and champion of Mandela Day was present at the handover. He praised the project as an initiative that, through innovation, has created a solution to South Africa’s current literacy problem. “We believe there is always a remedy and that businesses, government and civil society should focus on solutions and not problems, something Konica Minolta South Africa has done impeccably,” he says.