Friday was World Book Giving Day… and a day we love to celebrate as a blog every year. One of the great things about having a blog is the community it creates and we love that our readers have helped us again and again. Together we have equipped a rural school and build a library for a village in Lesotho. Last year, we created a library for a township community outside Cape Town.
At first glance creating a library seems like a huge undertaking, but reader by reader and book by book it really can be done. After our rural and township libraries in the past we are moving on to an urban library this year…
We are hoping to help the Evergreen Resource Centre in Blackheath to create a library. This is a community centre built on a dream to enhance the lives of the local youth and senior citizens. They provide enrichment and craft classes for the elderly, as well as job empowerment skills, like sewing and basic computer training for people in the surrounding area. It is a centre of up-liftment, with a goal to keep youngsters off the street and busy and in a community battling to build literacy skills. As part of their project they created a small library based on donations. There is no other library in the area, the nearest library is about 7km away and really too far for children to walk too after school. The local children have no access to books at home or at school and the schools are filled with children that just cannot read at an age-appropriate level.
These are not the poorest children in Africa, but they are far from well-off, which means that they fall into the social gap of not receiving funding. Because they have got going and begun to create a library for the children themselves and demonstrated that they are keen and self-motivated means that they are even less likely to receive funding for their efforts. Which leaves them with a library of donated books that looks fabulous on screen but is far from fabulous close up. These book have been donated by folk, who though well meaning, are obviously trying to get rid of the books. The books are mostly old and often so outdated and in a really shabby condition, certainly not age-appropriate for beginner readers, especially beginner readers battling to read. All the books have been mended and re-mended and are certainly not appropriate for building a love of literacy and words.
This small library is trying to perform a monumental task – to create a love of reading, they are supporting the entire area’s book needs:
- Three mornings a week they provide story time for local community pre-schools and creches.
- The primary schools in the area attend the library each week, for library time and with the goal to improve reading skills and encourage the teachers.
- The secondary school students attend and use the library for homework assignments.
- Over and above that the library has a membership of 400 learners and 250 adults.
I love the work they are doing, it is uplifting and inspiring. I love that they are serving the whole community, from little ones, through teens and tweens all the way up to their senior citizens. We are hoping to draw alongside this library and plan to pack it with books that children would love to read… books that will draw them in and inspire them to dream impossible dreams. I think as a blog we could fill those empty shelves with some magical and enticing books. I distinctly remember sitting in our school library and being literally transported by the words I was reading on a the pages… I would love for the children in this neighbourhood to have that same privilege and together with our readers I really believe that we can do it.
So How Can You Help?
Step 1: Select a Book or Books
- You can search through your books for gently used books that your children have outgrown or no longer love.
- You can buy a book or two with your children and package them up.
- You can shop at Amazon and ship directly.
- And you can shop on-line, locally at Kalahari, and ship directly as well.
While all the students do learn English, it is not their first language. Most of the learners have Afrikaans as their first language and about twenty percent of them have Xhosa as their first language. Do not let language hold you back, they do learn English in school. English books are welcome, so are books in Afrikaans and Xhosa. Any books will be great, story books, picture books, craft books, cook books, reference books… really any books. There is a large community being served here. If you are shopping overseas and would like to buy local language books then click on the South African vendor to find books and they will deliver locally for you.
Step 3: Let us Know All About the Books You Chose
We would love if you could photograph the books you are sending, if you shop on-line then just send us a list of the books that you ordered. If you have a blog and write about it then let us know and we will have a Progress Post each week. I will pop the photo’s you send into the post and if you do have a blog there will be a chance for you to link up as well…
We are so excited about this project and we really hope that our readers seize the day and join us… it doesn’t have to be huge… if even one percent of our readers pop a book into an envelope and post it off… we will have a library!!! So here’s to hoping that we hear from you all really soon… leave a comment saying you would like to join us, contact us… Please share this post… whatever you need to do… we would so love to hear from you!!!
We know that a project with a deadline often works better so could we aim to get our books in the mail around the time of World Book Day. That gives you a couple of weeks to choose a book or two and post them on…
Disclosure: The Amazon and Loot links are affiliate links and our blog will earn a very small percentage of the book sales made there, we pledge to put any of our earnings from books for the school directly back into buying more books for them… this is their project and we don’t in any way want to gain financially from it.