Launch Five Girls Clubs for Literacy Worldwide

 
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Community Building Games with LitClub Leaders
Community Building Games with LitClub Leaders

We've reached our funding goal! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your contribution allowed us to launch Girls LitClubs around the world. LitClubs, our pioneering model for literacy development are portable, mobile and flexible, giving girls a way to tell their own stories, and use their stories to impact their communities and the world.

We have just returned from visiting our most recently launched LitClubs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti which run in partnership with two amazing, local, grassroots organizations, the TOYA Foundation, and the Children of Haiti Project.

Haiti is a country in transition, and the process of rebuilding infrastructure and livelihoods is happening before our eyes, a testament to the resilience of this nation. We spent our time visiting LitClubs in action at community centers and schools, and running refresher training sessions on the different aspects of the LitClubs, from singing, to affirmations, to community building, and reading aloud.

One of the highlights was surely a rousing round of Mingle Mingle, during which we got into some heated chants about all manner of topics. And our version of Bullfrog, which translates to Hatian Creole as Crapo, turned into a full-on dance party as we sang "Balanse a dwat a goch, dwat a goch, dwat a goch, balanse a dwat a goch, dwat a goch, ki sa?"

We visited a girls LitClub made up of teens who have just had a few years of school because of their very hard lives. It was, as with so many, a tough yet entirely tender group. We played a name game to get a bit silly first, and then used a similar prompt to earlier, asking the girls to draw their hearts and then draw or write inside one or two memories that they hold in their hearts. They shared moving stories of hardship and strength, of lives without the family support they deserve.

We had them present hopes (espwa) for their LitClub. They would like to become LitClub leaders in the future. This is how the LitClub model is self-sustaining, cultivating future leaders who will lead the global literacy movement in their own communities.

We love the Global Giving community immensely and we want to reach more children around the world and offer LitClubs to the communities that reach out to us every day because they are inspired by LitWorld’s unique approach to education and want to join this movement. Therefore we have launched a new project on Global Giving! Learn more here:
http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/launch-5-litworld-litclubs-around-the-world/

We foster resilience, hope and joy through the power of stories. You make all of these wonderful outcomes, solutions and dreams possible for the children we serve together and we cherish your contribution.

With heartfelt appreciation,

LitWorld

Teen LitClub Members and Future Leaders
Teen LitClub Members and Future Leaders
Reading Books in Haitian Creole
Reading Books in Haitian Creole
Our Partners Make This Work Possible
Our Partners Make This Work Possible

Links:

Luminous children, full of stories.
Luminous children, full of stories.

With the holiday season upon us, we want to express our deep gratitude to you, our generous friends. We carry you with us wherever we travel. Last month a delegation of LitWorld staff and board members traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to launch our newest LitClubs. This is an important place for LitWorld to be right now. With the help or our community and phenomenal local partners, we will invest in the future of the children of Haiti, who will seize these opportunities, and change our worlds too.

During our trip we had the honor of training 20 incredible young women, and future LitClub leaders, from the TOYA Foundation. The TOYA Foundation mentors young women who are hoping to accomplish personal goals and realize their dreams, and also trains businesses and organizations on women's issues and best practices to promote the development of an equitable and stable society.

Our training was full of songs in both English and Creole/French, and each song turned into a beautiful chorus of voices coming together in different languages. We danced and held hands... we even had a congo line! The singing paved the way for an outpouring of sharing, laughing, and growing together. At the end of our time together, we presented LitClub Facilitator Certificates to the young women who will lead our movement in Haiti.

We also had the opportunity to scout a potential location to serve as a home base for LitWorld in Haiti. Rather than "home base" we call this space, and our similar spaces around the world, LitWorld Innovation Hubs. The space that we visited is located behind a school, and high enough in the mountains to give a view of the hills. We walked in and immediately fell in love. There was light, light, light everywhere. It will be a literacy sanctuary, a place full of joy where children can gather and grow.

On our final day in Port-au-Prince we met with another local organization, the Children of Haiti Project. Dominique, the incredible founder of this organization, took us to the nearby tent city where many children who attend her program live. Dominique took us to one of her student's homes. The little girl's name is Givelove. She lives with her mother and father in a tent the size of a standard two person sleeping tent pitched on three sticks over gravel -- no floor. They sleep, cook and live in this tent. There is no door, there is a wall missing on one side.

These children and families are living in conditions that are not fit for any living being to live in, but they have been for more than three years now. It is unfathomable and yet it exists. There is much sorrow in Haiti, and yet so much hope, and so many wonderful people working so tirelessly to bring the joy of learning to the forefront. We are there to support this crucial work of rebuilding.

Our Innovation Hubs around the world represent our collaboration with partners on the ground who can bring LitWorld methodologies to life and convey this vision to many others in their local communities and countries. We are building reading cultures with their collaboration, and your support.

You help us to build and empower our Innovation Hubs, from Kibera to Port-au-Prince to Manila to Harlem. Every child matters. Let us together make the world more loving for children.

A joy-filled training session.
A joy-filled training session.
Women of TOYA Foundation, future LitClub leaders.
Women of TOYA Foundation, future LitClub leaders.
Magical children of Haiti.
Magical children of Haiti.
Kibera Girls LitClub
Kibera Girls LitClub

The generous donations of Global Giving members continue to support the growth and expansion of LitWorld programming. This summer, members of the LitWorld team travelled to our hub site in Kibera, Kenya to collect data, conduct LitClub Facilitator training sessions, and to open the first LitWorld Club Hub, a new space to hold programming and foster community togetherness.

We had a great time during the facilitator training sessions, practicing community building games, learning about new technology, and above all, lots of laughing and storytelling. The teachers were thoroughly engaged and asking questions throughout the whole session; they did not want to stop.

We also did some brainstorming with the Girls and Boys LitClubs, asking them to write and share ideas of things they would like to have in the new LitWorld Club Hub. We were not surprised by the wonderful suggestions they put forward – from cubbies for their stuff, to singing and dancing groups, to interesting storybooks and computers.

We took their brilliant ideas and got to work immediately, painting the walls, organizing a community library and bringing the space to life, making it a warm and inviting place for all to be touched by the power of shared literacy experiences. 

This summer our team also visited the Philippines, to strengthen our partnerships, and to spread our LitClubs.  We visited our wonderful partner organization Project Pearls in Ulingan. This is a slum area in Manila very similar in nature to Kibera, in Nairobi. The people are living there without sanitation, water or electricity.

Project Pearls started with a feeding program for the children on Saturdays and has turned into something much, much more. They have incorporated the LitClub model into the fabric of their work. We were very fortunate to meet the beautiful girls of the Ulingan LitClub and to see their joy and excitement for reading and writing, their gratitude to all of you for making this possible, and the rays of hope that the Club provides to them. It was an honor to be there and to see that. 

One of the amazing things that we learned is the value placed on human dignity when there is charity or any kind of work involving people living in poverty. For example, rather than bring food in from the outside, Project PEARLS ensures community members are actively involved in running the programs, and an integral part of the work. To us, that is the theme of the work here; the way dignity really matters and how to keep that front and center in the work we do.

Thanks to your generosity we are able to provide literacy sanctuaries of hope, strength and joy through the transformational power of story to boys and girls all over the world. They are given the opportunity they deserve to fall completely in love with reading and writing, and the possibilities for their future are ever expanding.

LitClub Facilitator Training
LitClub Facilitator Training
The New LitWorld Club Hub in Kibera
The New LitWorld Club Hub in Kibera
Reading Deeply
Reading Deeply
Pam With the Ulingan Girls LitClub
Pam With the Ulingan Girls LitClub
A New LitClub Forms in Front of Our Eyes
A New LitClub Forms in Front of Our Eyes

Links:

The LitWorld Team in Ghana
The LitWorld Team in Ghana

The donations of GlobalGiving members have continued to make an incredible impact on the LitWorld community in the first quarter of 2012.  The generosity of this wonderful community has helped the message of global literacy and the power of story to travel far and wide in just the first few months of the new year.

In February, members of the LitWorld team made their first ever site visit to Ghana to meet with the 16 Girls LitClubs currently running in Accra and Kumasi.  The LitClub members shared their joy of reading and writing, and talked about their club experiences.  Seeing the girls' beautiful work in their notebooks and hearing their hopes, dreams, and determination to make their world a better place was inspiring.  Despite poverty and a lack of resources, our girls continue to grow into empowered young leaders who will be the driving force for change in our future.

Each club wrote their own Dream Poem together, through which they shared their hopes for themselves, their family, their country, and the world.  The girls wished for various things: becoming a doctor later in life, the creation of a library for their school, and world peace, to name a few.  Each of the girls agreed on one thing: the key to their dreams would be hard work and learning as much as possible.  They shared in the joy of wonderful texts such as "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats and "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes, and each club received a supply of new books to start their own LitWorld library.

In addition to cultivating our LitClubs through visits and continued connection, LitWorld has continued to grow throughout the winter.  Our Girls LitClub curriculum has now been translated into Spanish, French, and Chinese, and is ready to travel as we set our sights on developing partnerships in Asia, West Africa, and Central America.  Throughout the world, the power of story is continuing to take root as we raise our voices together to achieve our dreams.

Kibera, Kenya Girls LitClubs receive new books
Kibera, Kenya Girls LitClubs receive new books

The donations of GlobalGiving members have helped LitWorld grow tremendously in 2011 and expand the breadth of our current projects.  Your generosity has enabled us to help others experience the power of literacy and learning around the globe, and ensure that the work of LitWorld will continue to bring joy as we enter a new year.  We take pleasure in announcing new developments in our Girls LitClub programs:

Earlier this month, members of the LitWorld team returned to Kibera, Kenya, and Rwinkwavu, Rwanda to spend time with LitClub members, give books and school supplies to the community, and share stories, hugs, and laughter. For most club members, participating in LitClubs was the first time they were able to cast aside their troubled home life—poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS—and focus on their own personal growth as readers, writers, and dreamers.  The challenging lives of the children undeniably shaped their writing, as they channeled their life experiences into profound songs, poems, and journal entries.  Each child was ecstatic to be a part of the LitClub mission—using the power of stories to cultivate literacy worldwide.

Costumes were given to the girls in Kibera, and the community witnessed a transformation: stories were created, and the girls were delighted to step into imaginative roles. A library was built and filled for the community to ensure the presence of books for years to come.

In addition to working with LitClubs for Boys and Girls members in Kenya this summer, LitWorld has continued its mission of global expansion of LitClubs. Girls LitClubs have grown to include 35 domestic and international sites.  They now exist in the United States, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Iraq, and the Philippines.  They may live in different spheres of the world, but all LitClub members have the same universal experience—harnessing the power of their own personal stories to build self-confidence and a greater sense of self.

The Kibera LitClub plays dress-up in new costumes
The Kibera LitClub plays dress-up in new costumes

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Organization

LitWorld

New York, NY, United States
http://www.litworld.org

Project Leader

Dorothy Lee

New York, NY United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Launch Five Girls Clubs for Literacy Worldwide