A summer reading camp took place in Béléhédé from September 22th through 27th. It was the last of a successful run of reading camps throughout the months of July, August and September in village libraries in Burkina. Thanks to generous donations, we were able to hold camps at all of the libraries this year. 2011 was the first year for a camp in Béléhédé, where the village library just opened in 2010. 25 kids 4th grade students were able to participate in the camp, where they received t-shirts and daily breakfasts and lunches. Each day was filled with activities geared toward helping them improve literacy skills for the upcoming school year. There were sessions of reading with a tutor, guided reading and silent reading as well as instruction by a primary school teacher and sessions about HIV/AIDS, gender, malaria and maternal health. Dounko, a FAVL animator who helped facilitate the camp, said, "At the beginning of the week, most of the kids didn't even know the alphabet. After a couple of days, they were able to recite the alphabet and put letters together to make syllables." The feedback from students and facilitators alike has been incredibly encouraging and we hope to be able to hold such successful camps during the vacation of 2012.
Guided reading session with animator
Learning the alphabet
Jun 27, 2011
Béléhédé Open for Business!
By Charley Casler - Volunteer
Béléhédé Community Library
I just got back from a trip up to Béléhédé to see the new library and it looks great! We arrived in the village with a car full of books and magazines to find the library packed with children coloring and reading. My friend Pahitiba, with who I attended a maternal and child health conference last year, was excited to tell me that she had checked out a book on HIV/AIDS and was showing it to all of the women who come into the health clinic where she works. I was also thrilled to hear that the community was going to use some funds that they had raised to buy more school text books and pedagogical manuals for the elementary school teachers to use. The community was effusive in their appreciation and, though I wish I could have stayed longer, I couldn't have asked for a better first visit!
In the past few weeks we have received over $4,000 in funding for the Béléhédé library and secured a sponsor who has agreed to "adopt" the library for at least a year by covering the cost of the librarian's salary, which means that we are in great shape for the library's grand opening in early May! We are making final preparations and will be purchasing books in the coming weeks.
While I am proud of the work going on at all of the FAVL libraries, Béléhédé holds special significance for me, as the community hosted me for the first year of my Peace Corps service. While not all of the students I worked with have been able to continue their studies at secondary school, which is located 20km away, the opening of the library means that they will all have a place where they can continue reading, learning and having fun. I can't wait to see them all at the opening ceremony!