“Our school has a library for the first time”
Many schools in sub-Saharan Africa do not have libraries of their own. As a result, pupils often struggle to learn to read and succeed in their education.
The EJ Yancy Annex School in Liberia was one such school but thanks to your support, they have now created their own Explorer School Library filled with brand new books!
The school’s Principal, D. Kabawala O. Mulba, tells us about the new library and how it’s books are helping his pupils – and the wider community.
Our school is in an urban town, Kakata, but located in the most underdeveloped part. It is not a reading community and illiteracy is very high. The community is also economically challenged. Most of the people are engaged in small trading businesses.
All of the homes in our community do not have books because parents cannot afford to buy books. Before, our school also had very few books.
Book Aid International helped us establish our school library through the Explorer School Library project which began in December 2018. The project included training two of our teachers to manage the library.
The project is helping us promote reading in our school through the provision of quality reading books, textbooks and other information books. It’s also improved teaching through the use of textbooks and other books for instruction. Our teacher-librarians can now work with the students and teachers and encourage them to use the library more effectively.
Now my school has books, more reading is being done.
Students now have books and quality ones at that; books that cover all levels of our elementary school.
Our students are not waiting for teachers to take the books to them in the classroom, or for the teachers to send them to the library but are coming themselves to read. They use the books for their school work and to read for pleasure.
The books are a great help to the children.
One particular area the books are helping is in the Girls Accelerated Learning Initiative (GALI) program. Most of children, especially the over-age girls [girls who started school late], are far below their grade levels which the GALI program is working to improve.
The girls meet mostly in the library and the books are helping these girls improve their reading skills and performance in their classes. Some have even been promoted [to the next grade] twice this school year.
Without these books, our students would have had no materials to read, do their homework, while teachers would have had difficulties in finding materials to prepare their lessons.
Our new library now serves as a ‘public library’ for the community, since there is none in our community. It serves other students of the community who don’t attend E.J. Yancy Annex School. The library also serves adults of the community where they can come to read newspapers and magazines, as well as the other books in the library including the novels for leisure reading.
Our school has a goal to see our library include books on farming, gardening and books on life skills: plumbing, carpentry, auto and small machines repair, etc. We see ourselves opening more services to the community with reading being our focus, making our community more literate.
We would like to thank local Liberian NGO WE-CARE for their partnership in the Explorer School Libraries project.
Thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are now expanding the Explorer School Library project to schools in West Africa.