In 2013, I wrote a blog asking for help in setting up mini-literacy centers in government schools we work with. A lot of you responded by donating books from your home, boxes of pens and pencils, sharpeners, writing tablets, cash donation for bookshelves, new leveled readers, teachers’ guides, and a lot of moral support. The Literacy Resource Center was the Teachers Training Program’s first attempt at providing tangible inputs (things they can hold and see), a deviation from the program’s capacity building focus.
As sending boxes of books through the post is a costly affair, I eagerly awaited for TFFT staff and supporters traveling to Tanzania who so willingly agreed to carry them in their luggage and becoming “book mules” in the process. Because the Literacy Resource Centers seek to service 111 government primary schools and approximately 8,000 K-3 pupils, we decided delivery would happen only when we have amassed a good number to enable borrowing and rotation of resources between the 4 centers. The good news is this: that point had been reached and we have delivered the first tranche of books and resources in June and July!
WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water came through with more than 4,000 leveled readers to complete the rounded up book donations from you. WaterBridge Outreach is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote multicultural literacy, education, and development. This non-profit organization (with whom we were able to connect with through a meeting arranged by Toni Mathis, a TFFT supporter and sponsor) donates books in English and local languages and fund water and sanitation projects in communities and villages in developing countries.
With your and WaterBridge’s generous help, TFFT was able to provide each of the 4 Literacy Resource Centers with more than 1,500 leveled readers and storybooks and resources for making teaching aids, plus a bookshelf to keep them all. I know that this number is still small compared to the number of target users but I am celebrating this wonderful progress nonetheless. We will continue to seek help and as we get them add to what was donated.
Meanwhile, we press on with building the capacity of K-3 teachers in Meru District in teaching early literacy to complement these resources. The Teachers Training team will be carrying out a series of trainings from this month to November that seek to train 333 K-3 teachers on the building blocks of reading.
Monday was International Literacy Day, and I hope that this blog would put a smile on your face knowing that you have helped in putting a book to a child’s hand and aided a teacher with some resources in this corner of the world. Nashukuru sana!