The library at St Therese’s Upper Basic School which was opened by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is already being used by the school’s pupils. Formerly, the school’s library had only old, outdated books but now, thanks to our supporters, it is filled with 3,000 brand new, age-appropriate books for the pupils to enjoy.
We talked to Mrs Jammeh, the school’s Principal, Mrs Jammeh, and Mrs Corria, the School Librarian to hear more about the new library and the difference the new books will make for their pupils.
What is life like for pupils St Therese’s Upper Basic School?
Mrs Jammeh: Children who attend this school are just from the average Gambian home. Most of them come from homes of large extended families and there is not enough money to go around. So they don’t have books at home that they can read for leisure. All they have is the set textbooks.
What difference do you think the new library and books will make for your pupils?
Mrs Jammeh: Before, most of the books in the library were old, they were given to us a long long time ago. Also, some of them were above the level of the students in this school, they were meant for those in college and tertiary education.
But these books that Book Aid International have given to us are in the children’s grasp and they can relate to the stories in the books. They are also new, brand new. It really motivates the children to read more.
Mrs Corria: The library has a lot of materials that the students can benefit from in the academic subjects, in the technical subjects and also they can read for leisure with fiction books. A library helps the students to read more and if you read more, you gain a lot of knowledge.
Before, students were not looking at the academic books – they were looking at the fiction books because they have stories. But the way it is now [with the new books] I’ve seen them going for the sciences, mathematics, languages. So I know that there is now more that we can do for them.
What are your hopes for the future of the pupils in this school?
Mrs Corria: I have high hopes. If you have a good foundation in reading and you read a lot, your future is bright.
Mrs Jammeh: I hope they will do well in their school leaving certificate exams and then go on to tertiary education and go to university. And I hope they will read more because there is no greater joy in this world than reading.
St Therese’s Upper Basic School’s library is the first that we have supported in partnership with the Gambia National Library Services Authority (GNLSA). We join the staff and pupils of St Therese’s Upper Basic School and the GNLSA in thanking Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall for her visit to the first library we have supported in The Gambia and we look forward to working with the GNLSA creating access to more books for thousands of Gambians from all walks of life.