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!
Thanks to your generous support, Friends of African Libraries has successfully raised the necessary funds to run reading camps this summer for 275 primary school students in Burkina Faso. With the donations from GlobalGiving added to FAVL's other fundraising efforts, we have received over $9,000 with which to carry out the camps, which will run for one to two weeks in each of the eleven villages with a FAVL-managed library.
Because of the success of our fundraising efforts over the past few months, we will be able to offer every student an even greater camp experience this summer than we've been able to offer in the past. Along with a staff of FAVL's activities coordinators and librarians, we will also be able to hire a local teacher to help run each camp, as well as pair each village with a Peace Corps Volunteer who will co-facilitate reading and life skills activities.
Furthermore, we have received a small grant from USAID, administered by the Peace Corps bureau in Ouagadougou, which will allow us to produce a limited-run of books for the camps, which will be geared at teaching nutrition and hygiene lessons to elementary school students and other early readers. Each library hosting a camp will receive two copies of the book to add to their selection of reading materials at the end of the camps.
Thanks again for your generous support and follow the progress of the camps this summer on FAVL's blog at http://www.favl.org/blog