Today is Human Right’s Day in South Africa… a great reason to have a public holiday and celebrate how far South Africa has come since the arrival of our Bill of Rights in 1997, and yet a sobering reminder of how far we still have to go. In a country where the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” is ever widening there really is no excuse for us to wait for the authorities to do something… we can’t all build a school and we can’t all construct housing and provide sanitation, but we can all do something no matter how small… when your heart feels a tug to make a difference, go ahead and do it.
Every year we build a school library for a community that otherwise wouldn’t have books at all… I know, books aren’t a Human Right, but an education is. It isn’t a massive project, and we don’t rely on huge donations… books are donated by our readers… one or two books at a time. Eventually we will end up with a heap of books to donate to a group of children that really really need them. I know my kids couldn’t imagine a world without books, they are surrounded by them and on top of that they also make full use of the public library. Generally the children we donate books to do not have any access to a public, let alone a school library, they have no books at home and their parents cannot read to them, even if they did have books at home. Their teachers have to rely on whatever books they have available in the classroom to inspire these children to read. Imagine being to taught to read, and being told reading can take you places, reading will help you learn, and then having no books available to read. It is shocking really that our schools do not have books available for all children… but there is something we can do about it… one school at a time and slow and steady, book by book.
The areas that we have donated books to in the past are not for the fainthearted, and I know that if my children were growing up there we wouldn’t be spending any money on books… survival and thats it. This year we are once again donating books to children in Manenberg, an area of the City of Cape Town that is renowned as one of the most violent places to live, the gangster capital of the world. The area is notorious for crime, substance abuse and domestic violence…and yet these kids faithfully show up for school each day. Eager to learn, eager to break the cycle they have been born into. It seems crazy, but I firmly believe that with books we could grab these kids’ attention, we could inspire them… and give them a chance to dream dreams bigger than the world they live in. Desperately inadequate doesn’t begin to describe the book situation for these children… we really need to help them and together we can. Well over a thousand primary school children in a school with literally a handful of books.
Let’s Meet the Kids
We asked three of the children from the school about their dreams… and they wrote us fantastic letters explaining their hopes and dreams…
So How Can You Help?
The children have recently moved to new school buildings… they even have a dedicated library space, all that’s missing is the books. So near and yet so far. Wouldn’t it be great of we could fill this shelves with great books that will inspire them and help them to fulfil their dreams.
Step 1: Select a Book or Books
- You can search through your books for gently used good quality 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.
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, or 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 one 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, with your friends and family, with your play-dates, with your class. Whatever you need to do… we would so love to hear from you!!!
Libraries Our Readers Have Created in the Past
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. We can change that, book by book… 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. The project that we choose will have children that need to be able to escape the world around them, more than most of us.
- A rural village school in Lesotho.
- A Township School in Stanford.
- And a Community library in Eerste River.
- A Primary School Library in Manenburg.
We are hoping to deliver our library of books after the Autumn school break, towards the end of April, which means we are about half way through our campaign. There is always a pause between when our project launches and when the first books arrived… and this week we were thrilled as new books started arrive for our library project. Thank you so much to those of you who sent books and pictures in for us… we so so appreciate your efforts!!!
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.