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Build School Library & Storeroom for 650 Students

by Outreach Uganda
Build School Library & Storeroom for 650 Students
Build School Library & Storeroom for 650 Students
Build School Library & Storeroom for 650 Students
Build School Library & Storeroom for 650 Students
Build School Library & Storeroom for 650 Students
Build School Library & Storeroom for 650 Students
Class time in the library - February 2020
Class time in the library - February 2020

I, along with two other volunteers from the U.S. visited the Agwata school and its library during February. It was an exciting time where we got to see the final finishing coat of paint put on the library's walls. At the same time, students and teachers were busy scheduling their library times both individually and for classes. We even had a special movie night in the library where we used the library's technology equipment to watch the Queen of Katwe movie with the 6th grade students and teachers.

We could see the library is bringing new ways of learning and teaching.  We brought over 400 books with us from the U.S. as well as  21 special "book bags"  made by students at a Colorado elementary school. Each book bag contained a book, and a cd player which contained the U.S. student reading the book in the bag.

Our English and literacy volunteer worked with the 4th to 6th grade teachers and classes on a variety of English teaching opportunities using the library materials.  The photo we have included with this report shows the 6th graders learning how to gather information for reports they were writing in English on assigned topics.

The library still desperately needs funding for more Uganda textbooks for students.  We hope to purchase more textbooks  this year if funding becomes available.  Books are very important, especially for 3rd  to 6th graders,because  the library is a place where they can come during breaks lunch time, and sometimes at the end of the day, to access and study from textbooks. During class time, often the teacher has a teacher's book for the subject and only 1 or 2 student textbooks to show students or write examples from. Library textbooks will not only help students in the library but the teacher will also be able to check them out so students can share them durng class time.

We thank you for your support of this very valuable project.  Please share this gift giving opportunity with friends, family, coworkers, and book lovers that you may know.

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Meet Librarian, Lucy. Help fill the empty shelves!
Meet Librarian, Lucy. Help fill the empty shelves!

The Ugandan school year begins today, February 3, 2020. This will be the first full year of use for our library that was completed and put into service in mid-July 2019. Over 600 students and 18 teachers will be using the library this year!  Most of the teachers and older students use the library daily for their studies.

I'll be traveling to Uganda again with two U.S. volunteers in a couple of weeks. And we'll be bringing over 400 donated U.S. reading and picture books with us. 

But there are two things we can't bring from the U.S. that are some of the most important things our library should have:

  • Ugandan textbooks for students to use and study from outside of class time
  • Ugandan social studies and history books and maps as well as other cultural books

Both of these items are very important for Uganda libraries. Books are in short supply in Uganda and most students have no books of their own. Students share a very limited number of books in class. They can only check out books from the library for homework purposes. 

As we mentioned in our last report, we have most of the 6th grade textbooks needed but very little textbooks for other classes. We are hoping to raise the needed money to purchase these textbooks through this GlobalGiving project. 

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support so far in helping make the library a reality, and for beginning this process of acquiring more textbooks.  Please reach out to your friends and family if you know teachers, librarians, book lovers and others who would be willing to help with this awesome textbook purchasing project. It will be a wonderful conclusion to our library project to make sure it is as effective and well utilized as possible.

Please share and help us achieve our goal to fill the empty library shelves. Help our Uganda students have the learning materials they need to excel and achieve their dreams!

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Students Reading at Agwata School Library
Students Reading at Agwata School Library

Since our last report in late July, the painter has completed painting of both the interior and exterior of the library. The one remaining item still to go as funds become available is to purchase textbooks for the main class subjects in the 1st to 5th grade classes.

Before the library existed, there was no place to store textbooks. And there was no money for textbooks either. This is a typical situation in many primary schools in Uganda. Consequently, only the teachers had the necessary teacher books along with one or two pupil textbooks so they could write examples and problems on the blackboard.

As you can imagine, this is not a good situation. It is one reason we were so excited to be able to help the community build a library for its school. Now there is ample shelving available to store many textbooks. This means each class of 50 to 60 students can come to the library and each student will be able to study from their own textbook. Teachers will also be able to check the textbooks out of the library and take them to their classrooms during instruction times.

Currently, we have about 80% of the textbooks needed for 6th graders. But almost no textbooks for other grade levels. Our textbook shelves are 80% empty. We are hoping for a grant to purchase 5th graders textbooks. We hope that remaining funding needed for 3rd and 4th grader textbooks can be raised as part of this project. Textbook prices vary depending on grade level and subject but usually are in the $7.50 to $10 price range.

We appreciate your invaluable support in constructing the library and helping with its final finish work. If you have friends or family that you think would love to help complete this project with the textbooks, please share this opportunity with them! 

Thanks again!

Student Choosing a Book from New Library Shelves
Student Choosing a Book from New Library Shelves

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P7 Students First Visit to the Library
P7 Students First Visit to the Library

Super excited is how students and teachers feel about the new library! we're happy to report that the new library opened as planned on July 20th just one week after the new school librarian began work. Our U.S. librarian volunteer, Kiersten helped train Lucy, the new library for two weeks in July.

The ten new book shelves as well as the librarian's desk and chair arrived while we were there.  A local carpenter from Kitgum had to build the furniture to our order. Four long library tables should be delivered by next week. Students will be using plastic chairs until we can afford longer lasting wood chairs.

We are in the process of counting all the library books but think there is around 1600 books on the shelves. There are all kinds of books: teacher resource books, teacher guide books, pupil text books, classroom sets of books, reading books from America, Ugandan readers, student resources, even some picture books with few words for the very earliest readers in P1 (kindergarten). 1600 might seem like a lot of books but it's not so much if you consider that there are 600 students and almost 20 teachers and staff that will use the library.

Teachers have already signed up their classes for special weekly times to use the library. Our oldest students in P7 (6th grade) are very excited to have the privilege of using the library by themselves for additional study time. The teachers are using the second room as a teacher resoure room which is where the laptops will be stored once the solar system is completed by the start of the 3rd term in late September.

Funding is still needed for three important items that remain to be completed:

  1. inside and outside painting of the llibrary
  2. purchase of additional pupil textbooks for all classes in their four main subjects of English, Math, Science and Social Studies.

Thanks so much for helping to the teachers' and students' dream of a library become reality. If you know friends or relatives that love reading, books and education, please let them know about our project.

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Agwata Library with Its Roof - May 2019
Agwata Library with Its Roof - May 2019

Workers made steady progress on the library during April and May in spite of quite a few days of rain. The roof was successfullly completed in May. Work continues in June with windows being installed this week. 

We were all relieved when the windows were finally done because lack of electricity in the town where the windows were being welded delayed their installation by a couple of weeks. As soon as the windows are in, final finishing work will take place inside the building. Your support of our library project on GlobalGiving has made all this possible!  

The library will give both teachers and students access to the many books that donors have provided for the library including a up to date encyclopedia set which is very important in an area which does not have any easy access to the internet. 

We are raising additional funds to purchase Ugandan textbooks and other resources including maps on Uganda and East Africa. Students will be able to access these study materials during their free time.  This is important because most students have no personal textbooks.

We hope that the final library funding can soon be completed. If not, then cementing of the outside veranda may be delayed. Nonetheless, the library can still be used.

We plan on traveling to Agwata by mid-July to help the new librarian set up the shelving and organize books on the library shelves. We'll keep you posted and have lots more photos in July once we arrive on site!

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Organization Information

Outreach Uganda

Location: Highlands Ranch, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @outreachuganda
Project Leader:
Carol Davis
Highlands Ranch, CO United States

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