World Vision promotes literacy through donated books

Did you know that today is World Book and Copyright Day? Probably not -- but it's a great opportunity for us to highlight World Vision's commitment to education and literacy across the globe.

Here's a story from a World Vision area development program in Zambia, where we've distributed a total of 2,144 books and helped to promote literacy in communities there.

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The illiteracy level is high in rural areas of Zambia, where many children have little access to reading materials. World Vision seeks to counter this trend by providing books to schools in rural communities.

Austin Mwale, 14, is thankful that he can now read real books for the first time in his life, as opposed to before, when he just read notes his teacher gave him in class.

“Things are different now,” says Austin, a sixth-grade student at Kafue Bridge Basic School. “I read the books in the library, and they are helping me with the needed resources.”

Austin says that if it were not for the donated books, he would not know how to read as well as he does today.

“I read every day at school. And I am managing to read at home, because the school allows us to take books home from the library, and we return them later,” he says.

Teachers at the school say the donated books are helping not just the students, but the school as well.

“We have over 1,000 pupils at the school, and grades five through nine are all benefiting from the books. They are each given one, and they come back to exchange it when they are done to get different types,” says teacher Robert Ng’ona. “But it’s not just the pupils who are benefiting from the reading materials. Teachers use the same books as teaching aids and for research, which helps them prepare for classroom lessons.”

Robert says that the books given to the Kafue Bridge Basic School are in mathematics, science, and literature, adding that schools like his don't get books from any other source. “The mathematics books are especially helpful, because they are similar to the syllabus we are following in Zambian schools today.”

Ben Mwale, head teacher at Kamfinsa Day High School, says that his institution also received books.

“Our mathematics and English departments have greatly benefited because of all of the books donated by World Vision, and this has improved our reading culture,” Ben says. “We have a lot of story books, and these have helped our English department teach children how to read.”

Meanwhile, Lemmy Kaunda, head teacher Malela High School, says that as soon as his school received the donation, they established a library for the first time in the history of the institution.

“The school has had no library, so we created libraries in the rooms where we store the books, and that is where the pupils have access to them,” he says.

Lemmy says that even with the donation, his institution still lags behind in terms of resource materials. “We have 1,270 students in grades 10 through 12, and the donated books have made a significant difference, but we still need more books to adequately cover all the students for various projects,” he says.

A student reads in the library at Kitwe Community Development Staff Training College. (Photo: Kwenda Paipi/World Vision)

Realizing that higher institutions of learning were also lagging behind in education materials, World Vision extended the donation of books to colleges, including Kitwe Community Development Staff Training College.

College librarian Sara Banda says that her institution received a total of 141 books. “This donation came at the right time. We wrote a letter to World Vision and several other non-governmental organizations soliciting such a donation, and World Vision responded by donating relevant books to our institution,” she says.

“When the inspectors came, they were happy that this institution now has a well-stocked library.”

Sara says that the donation will also help the school start offering a higher qualification, from a certificate to a diploma, in community development studies.

“We want to build a lecture theater, increase enrollment, and generate our income from the fees that students pay. The books donated have been a catalyst in all of this, and the government is now geared up to give us a go-ahead,” she says. “For this, we will forever be grateful to World Vision.”

World Vision distributes various books to members of the community that are funded by donors. In 2010 alone, this development program in Zambia benefited from 2,144 books, with the support of partners in the United States.

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    It is a great thing that World Vision does in providing books for these children. I am a university student working on a similar project, and would love if you could contact me so that I can ask a few questions about how this all works.

    Thank you!

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