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Readers in new places

Hear from our Head of Programmes, Samantha Sokoya, about our 2023 Community Reading Awards – a scheme that gives grants to innovative partners who believe in helping people access the power of books.

Last year we launched the Community Reading Awards. Winners ranged from a mobile bicycle library in Uganda to a book club for young women in Kenya and we were so impressed with the creativity and thoughtfulness of the applications, which in total gave 7,000 readers the opportunity to enjoy the power and joy of reading.

My heart warms as I think about the children in Kip Keno Children’s home in Zimbabwe who now have a Children’s Corner and a wide range of books to explore for fun and for study during their new ‘after-supper reading activity’.   I can only imagine the fun, games and laughter that those children are having.

I also think about the small villages in Magoro Uganda who can now expect to see volunteers from the Marko Lukooya Mobile Bicycle Library bringing books in rucksacks for them to borrow.  And then there are new mums and mums-to-be at the Toto Smart Book club at the Bondeni Maternity Hospital in Kenya, who have discovered the joy and relaxation that reading to a baby can bring. All of these fantastic projects illustrate how books in the hands of people who want them can change lives and bring people power. 

Applications for the 2023 awards opened in September last year and we can now announce the winners have received their grants and their projects are underway!

These projects include the Healing Cabinet in Zimbabwe, where books and reading activities will begin for children admitted to Gwanda Provincial Hospital; the creation of a library and programme of activities for young people awaiting trial at Naguru Remand home, Uganda; and a mobile library for the community at the Congo Market in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Such unique projects reach readers who otherwise would miss out on the opportunity to read. I look forward to hearing about the impact these projects will make in the lives of the communities they reach. Watch this space.

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