At the beginning of March 2014, volunteers, using money fundraised by the GVI Charitable Trust, purchased 121 different children's novels, from a variety of reading levels.
In Bombolulu where the average weekly income is about 7 USD, a children’s novel, if found at all, would cost a parent more than a week’s wages. As a result, ‘reading’, often regarded one of the most important aspects in a child’s development is an activity limited to a few devoted school hours each month. In such an environment, a metal box with 121 novels is a treasure, and at the center is proudly called ‘the Olives library’.
Each Monday and Tuesday students from standards 5, 6, 7 and 8 are allowed to take out a library book, and bring it home for the week. The books are signed in and out, and students are held accountable for the books. If the students have not yet finished reading the novel, then they are able to sign it out for another week, as long as they bring the book in and show it to a ‘librarian’ on the assigned day. If the students have finished their books, they are allowed to choose another.
While this is offering students the opportunity to read, many come from homes where one or both parents are illiterate. As a result, if they were to come across a word or phrase they did not understand, they would be unable to ask anyone at home for help. To combat this, each student is given a notebook, where they can write down words that they cannot understand, and ask a teacher the following day.
While 121 different novels go a long way, the library is very popular and novels will be in high demand. For children from a low-income area, books have the potential to fuel the imagination by transferring people from their everyday life into magical and exciting fantasies. They help increase the students' knowledge of the world around them. As the famous American children’s book writer ‘Dr. Seuss’ put it in one of his books ”The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
We are hoping further donations will enable us to let the library grow.
Thank you for supporting this project.
All the best
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GVI Charitable Trust Manager