Thanks to many generous donors, FAVL was able to host reading camps in 11 rural villages in Burkina Faso: Béréba, Sara, Dohoun, Karaba, Koumbia, Boni, Dimikuy, Pobé-Mengao, Bougounam, Niankorodougou and
Béléhédé. Two hundred and seventy-five (275) total students at the CE2 and CM1 levels (3rd and 4th grade) participated in the camps. Twenty-five kids from local elementary schools were invited to participate in
Activities lasted six days and ran from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the duration of the camp. A cook was locally hired in each village to prepare daily meals (breakfast and lunch) for the students. Every participant received a camp
T-shirt, which featured a scene of children reading and a slogan about the importance of reading. Facilitation teams included FAVL coordinators and librarians, elementary school teachers, library assistants and Peace Corps volunteers.
FAVL’s 2012 reading camps enabled 275 elementary school students to spend a week of their summer vacation receiving individual attention and specialized instruction to work on skills to help them succeed in school. Making sure the kids had fun was also important in order to show them that reading and writing are no just chores to be done at school but valuable skills they can enjoy for life. The facilitation teams were able to emphasize this through various activities and games including guided reading time, reading with partners or tutors, Word BINGO, spelling contests and drawing time.
With funds, FAVL were able to purchase notebooks, t-shirts and two daily meals (breakfast and lunch) for each student. Since part of the camps’ goal this year was also to teach kids about hygiene, we constructed a hand washing station from cheap and locally available materials at each library. Students were encouraged to wash their hands before and after each meal and after exiting the latrines. After the camp, the stations will stay at
the library to serve as a model to their communities. Each student also received a toothbrush and toothpaste to take home, and participated in a tooth brushing demonstration.
All parties benefited from their participation in reading camps: the librarians and coordinators learned new activities that they can continue to use at the libraries throughout the rest of the year; teachers learned new effective teaching techniques to take into the classroom; volunteers learned more about their adopted culture and got ideas for projects to bring to their own villages. Of course, the greatest benefit was toward the campers, who were given an educational, fun and diversified learning experience.
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