School children reading in Zanzibar

Bringing books to remote schools in Zanzibar

10th August 2016 | Blog

As the current two year cycle of our School Library in a Box project in Zanzibar approaches completion, our Education Projects Officer Ashleigh travelled there to see how the participating schools are getting on. Here is Ashleigh’s photo diary of her trip .


Zanzibar school children


During my recent trip, I visited six of the 10 schools participating in our School Library in a Box project.




Many schools in the Zanzibar archipelago, off mainland Tanzania, are located in remote and rural communities. A large portion of these communities live as subsistence farmers. Most people do not have books at home and schools rarely have libraries due to little or no government funding.


Reading outside


Book Aid International’s School Library in a Box project, run in collaboration with our partner Zanzibar Library Service, aims to bring a plentiful supply of books to school children in these communities. These books will help children develop their reading skills and a love of reading.

Each of the 10 participating schools has received a Book Box Library containing 700 children’s books in English and Kiswahili.


School Library in a Box


The Book Box Libraries are generally stored in the room where curriculum texts are kept or the Head Teacher’s office. Keeping the books in a special box makes the library portable. At each school I visited there were student librarians who carry the Book Box Libraries from classroom to classroom – or even outside – before lessons start so that children can enjoy reading independently.

Two teachers from each school have taken part in training to become teacher librarians so they can use the books to support their teaching and help children make the most of their collections.


Zanzibar teacher


In the schools I visited, the teacher librarians had set up lending records so pupils can borrow books from the Book Box Library and take them home to share with their families.

Teachers are also using the books in the classroom to make their lessons more interesting.


Zanzibar teacher


I was delighted to find that the schools are really benefiting from their Book Box Libraries. Children are becoming more confident in their language skills and this is positively influencing their school work.




To find out more about our School Library in a Box project and our work in Tanzania, take a look at the links below.


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Find out more about our School Library in a Box projects on Zanzibar and in Tanzania.
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Find out more about our work in Tanzania.
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Find out about the mobile libraries we support to help get books to remote communities.
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