Welcome to International Book Giving Day. One of the most fantastic things about blogging is that you cannot blog in isolation. A blog is always part of a community. Once a year, together with our community of readers we like to create a library for children that don’t have access to books otherwise. At first glance the idea of creating a library can seem so far beyond our reach. But really it can be done, together with our readers, reader by reader and book by book, we have helped to create several libraries in the past:
- A rural village school in Lesotho.
- A Township School in Stanford.
- And a Community library in Eerste River.
Our own children are beyond privileged. they have been raised surrounded by books. Honestly they live in book heaven, and when they run out of books to read at home they can pop down to the library and collect some more. That being said, living on the Southern tip of Africa, we are in a part of the world where this isn’t actually the standard protocol and many many children have no access to books, let alone the luxury of books in their own language or books about their own culture, not for school, not for fun and certainly not at bedtime. There are many children close to our home that especially need the chance to escape into a good book and yet they do not have the opportunity, they come from a culture where they might dream of literacy but they just cannot attain it, it really is way out of reach. This is our chance, with our readers, to help one group of children get access to books, that wouldn’t have access to books otherwise.
Let’s Meet the Children
This year we have chosen to support a school very close to our home, in a part of Cape Town that we are just not very familiar with. Manenberg, is a neighbourhood fairly close to ours and is globally renowned as one of the most violent areas to live in. Like most Capetonians we try not to come into contact with an area that is notorious for crime, gangsterism, substance abuse (alcohol and tic) and domestic violence. Together with our readers, we would like to make a difference here and create a library for the children living in this area. Because of the socio-economic situation this is a non-school fee paying school… this school is really a community project in an area where parents are just not capable of helping their children with school work in any way.
There are almost 1000 students in the school ranging from Grade R to Grade 7. There is even a small community library within 2km radius of the school, but because of the very real threat of violence, for safety reasons the children are unable to get there. Because of the accessibility problem, a mobile library visits the school once a week. This mobile library services many schools throughout the entire area, and is hopelessly inadequate for providing the children with books to read, books for projects, and certainly there is no chance of books to escape into.
I firmly believe that wherever you are, and whatever situation you are in, you can always escape into a book… but that is only if you have an opportunity to connect with a book. Here are children that need to be able to escape the world around them, more than most of us. They are in a school environment, where they should have access to books. But because of things way beyond their control they do not have access to living books. We cannot change so much about their circumstances but we can provide books. There is a real vision here that children with access to books can literally have different lives… books their teachers can use in the classroom. books to learn in, books to dream in, books to take home and show their family, books to be proud of.
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 Loot, and ship directly as well.
While all the students do learn English, many of the learners have Afrikaans as their first language. English books are very welcome, so are books in Afrikaans. 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 blog 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 on the 5 March. That gives you a couple of weeks to choose a book or two and post them on…
We would like to thank Biblionef South Africa, for helping us to find a community in our area that needs a library, over the years they have provided us with unprecedented support in helping us to pursue our dream to provide books for children just like ours, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to books.
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.