From tackling the world’s oceans to tackling illiteracy in Africa

08 December 2016

Twenty-two-year-old Mency Madolo could never have imagined she would be stepping onto a 70-foot yacht to sail from San Francisco to New York as part of the crew for the Clipper 2013-14 Race. So, how did the young South African who knew nothing about sailing find herself taking part in one of the biggest endurance challenges of the natural world and how has it motivated her since?

The Clipper Race is the ultimate bucket list challenge and attracts people from all walks of life with a desire to achieve something remarkable. In 2013 the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, a project which allows young South Africans who wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience ocean racing, selected Mency as one of eight, first generation ambassadors to take part in the 2013-14 edition with the aim to build their confidence and leadership skills. Participating in the race is a huge accomplishment and for some crew, their actions in those days, weeks or months after they step off the boat can speak a thousand words. As Mency opens a new library in her local community, we couldn’t be prouder of what this remarkable young leader has achieved.

With the motto, ‘the library is the heart of the school and the source of knowledge for the community’, Mency is working towards passing on her love of reading to others in her home town of Mfekayi in KwaZulu-Natal, whilst helping fight the problem of illiteracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Joining forces with her former high school, the Dlilanga High School, Mency has secured the use of two classrooms for books and computer access whilst READ Educational Trust and the KZN Department of Education have also agreed to support Mency by donating a variety of books and reading materials.

Mency receiving donated books in Mfekayi

Mency says: “Even though literacy is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa, there is still much work to be done to give boys and girls access to libraries and books and spark their interest in reading. Illiteracy is only part of the problem, as for those who canread, the love of reading is often lacking, and this restricts the personal growth of young students.”

Her success doesn’t end there however, with Mency recently completing the Library Assistant learnership programme and hoping to continue her studies to become a qualified librarian. She will also have access to a laptop thanks to the foundations support, allowing her to electronically catalogue the library’s book collection and manage the borrowing, working towards establishing a thriving community library and fighting illiteracy in her hometown.

If you would like to help support Mency realise her dreams and make the library as inspiring and resourceful as possible for her local community please click here

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