The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.
Located in the corner of the compound, the library is housed in a small but tidy building, and despite its size, boasts an impressive number of books, twenty laptops and wireless internet. Available to all community members of Chikumbuso, it serves a vital function as a source for information, internet use, learning and the simple appreciation books. During my visit, there was a group of about six children sitting in the back corner who told me they come there a lot to read and hang out with friends.
The librarians Anna and Beverly explained to me how this two year old library also offers classes on how to use computers, with free lessons offered from 14:00 till 17:00 every day as well as for school classes where other community members are welcome to attend and watch. The classes are taught by Beverly, an IT student herself, and she told me how she was teaching all the basics used every day like e-mails and using Microsoft Word. Later on, they will be moving on to learn how to use Excel. Though the internet isn’t the greatest, these donated computers greatly improve the amount of information that the community members can access.
This past summer a group of about 20 Chikumbuso widows, students, STARY participants and single moms worked with artist/educator Nancy MacBride to create one-of-a-kind dolls.The dolls were made from repurposed plastic bottles, found items and paper mache. This is in keeping with our upscale theme at Chikumbuso where we strive to make a difference in our world by making upscaled art (such as our Chikumbuso bags). While Nancy was there she spent some time in our library reading with her sponsored child Maria and her friends as well as a young first grader Enoch who is sponsored by a friend of Nancy's. Having a quiet place to spend quality time with these kids was such a blessing to Nancy who, as an art teacher in Voluntown, Ct. knows the power behind the book.
Thank you so much for helping us to build and support this beautiful library where life time connections to friends and the world beyond Lusaka can be made.
By the way Nancy will sell the dolls as well as Chikumbuso’s other products at “Art-Is-You Stamford” in October 2013.
There is a school in Maine that has taken it upon themselves to make sure we have the BEST library for elementary children in all of Lusaka, or make that Zambia! They collect books from everywhere; libraries, schools, kids, yard sales, anywhere. Then they sort them to make sure they are quality, then they pack them up and send them to us. How perfect is that? We are so blessed. They have single handedly given us over 3000 books and with the help of other schools and friends I believe we are over the 4000 mark.
Another school in Connecticut made a connection with a large organization which is donating to us 20 computers!
Our library is great and if you can, visit but if you can't there are just a few more things that our library needs. Please look over the list and see how you can help.
Be part of our community.
Chikumbuso School is so blessed with an amazing library that has had so many donors contributing books, furniture, and computers but unfortunately we feel it has been underused by our students. Keep in mind that all of our students are English Language Learners, who have never before had access to so many books or computers. In the past the only reading they had done was the reading provided in their curriculum through short stories in their work books. So students are still learning how to use the library, and how to read for fun. This concept is still pretty foreign to them. I found in the little bit of reading that I did with 5th grade students, that I was impressed with their reading skills, but very disappointed with their comprehension.Thus, the goals of Chikumbuso readers for 2013 are:
"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall."
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Why would Mr. Dahl say that?
Because, in fact, books can be a person's best friend. Books can be a friend who will accompany you on the best of imaginative journeys. They can keep you going all day and even well into the night. Books can take you to the slums of Mumbai or to the revelation of the heavens. All of us know this to be true and at Chikumbuso we are working at making this true for over 500 students. Never really owning books or having them around the home in Ng'ombe books have become a gift that we need to encourage students to open. Once they do take a book from "a lovely bookshelf on the wall" then sit down and read it we will have them hooked. Each day at Chikumbuso teachers are bringing their students to the library for reading time on the floor with the librarian and again another time in the week they are coming for computer classes. It is amazing to see the growth of each child as their reading becomes fluent, as they increase their knowledge of the world around them and as they realize the wealth of information found in a library. We do become better with books.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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