October 31, 2020

Helping Zimbabwe’s children read

Children with donated books

 Zimbabwe reads has been set up to help the children of Zimbabwe develop their reading skills. In a nation where a school has existed for 40 years before getting even a rudimentary library this is vital work. Where libraries do exist their books dats from the 1960s. Zimbabwe reads has stepped up and is trying to change the literacy of the next generation.

Their objectives are to:

  • Promote a concrete reading culture that is sustainable
  • Provide modern books which are relevant to all individuals
  • Instil/revive the belief that reading creates limitless opportunities
  • Encourage reading from an early onset

Children within the local communities spend most of their time playing on the streets, having absolutely nothing else to do. This consequently leads to the perpetuation of a vicious cycle of poverty, inactivity and crime. This is a cliché in many poor communities around the world, however they recognise that they have to begin somewhere.

In the libraries that do exist the books are few and old, dating as far back as the 1960s, this is not appealing to the young reader, as a result very few children are enticed to enter the library, let alone attempt to read one of the books.

The adolescent members of the community lack awareness of the endless opportunities that come with reading and empowering themselves with knowledge, as a result, much time is spent on unproductive activities, done just to pass time.

there is a growing need for change in the community, and this change can be brought about through reading. This provides people with the relevant resources to empower them with knowledge, increase exposure to the rest of the world, inspire productivity or positivity to break the inactivity, poverty and crime cycle. If they cannot gain direct access to the world with all the possibilities that it brings, we will bring the world to them through books.

 Recently they have received a box that contained 25 books, from Usborne Publishing in the United Kingdom. This donation enabled them to take the first step towards the vision of empowering children with knowledge. Eighteen of the books received were  donated to a kindergarten school in Tshabalala which had absolutely no children’s books prior to our visit.
Children with donated books
Fifty one children attend this school, the donation will thus enable establishment of a library system in which books can be rotated between classes so that each child can borrow a book for up to a week and eventually get the chance to read all the books.

The other seven books were donated to Tshabalala library, which like many other libraries has not received any new books for the past seven years.

They have also received 29 books from Blake Education. Their books will be donated to Maphisa Primary School in Tshabalala. These will be used to start the schools library.

Children with donated books

A generous donation was received from Pat Kinderman of the Townsend Press group. A total of 105 books were donated to Maphisa Primary school to add to the books that will be used to start their library.

The children were all very excited to see and get a chance to look at the new books. The school currently does not have a library although it is over 40years old. This was their very first book donation and the very beginning of any kind of book borrowing system that the school would have to allow the children to read any books other than the prescribed books that are also in very short supply.

More books and inspirational posters have been received from Townsend Press. A total of 105 books were donated to Maphisa Primary school to add to the books that will be used to start their library.

Some of the children got the opportunity to have a look at the new posters and the books that will be available to them once the library is running. The enthusiasm of the children was very high in all the age groups. They have never had brand new books to read, the readers contain stories that engaged them immediately. The teachers also received teacher’s guides to assist them as they help the younger children to start to read and to understand the book contents.

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