To celebrate International Literacy Day, we asked you to share pictures and stories of how literacy is thriving where you are. You responded with amazing accounts and photos showcasing the difference that the ability to read is making to you and your communities.
Here’s a collection of the wonderful and inspiring things you shared with us:
As a mother, if I couldn’t read, I wouldn’t know how to handle my baby and my family.
– Karen, Mathare Youth Sports Association library user, Nairobi, Kenya
Reading feeds the soul. It opens opportunities for us and I think the person who does not read misses a lot.
– Fatema, West Bank
Reading has allowed me to feel limitless.
Before, travel was hard because I couldn’t read signposts myself. But now I can go everywhere!
– Phocas, 28, Rwanda
This is just a small selection of all the images and stories we received. You can take a look at them all here. We’ll also be sharing more pictures from partners on our twitter feed as they celebrate International Literacy Day at their libraries over the coming weeks.
To date, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have provided an amazing £900,000 to help more people access books that will enrich, improve and change their lives. Players’ contributions to our charity are simply amazing, so earlier this year we were delighted to host People’s Postcode Lottery Managing Director Jo Bucci, Customer Experience Operations Manager Louise Donkin and Network Solutions Architect Amjad Ali Shaikh to visit one of the schools that players help us support on the island of Unguja in Zanzibar.
In this blog, our Head of Fundraising Hannah Watson reflects on the visit and why the support of players is so important to our work in Zanzibar and across Africa.
Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa. Our charity has worked in Tanzania since 1960 and every year we distribute thousands of books to libraries and schools as well as running projects which invest in library and school services.
There is a great demand for books across Zanzibar, but libraries and schools have very little budget for purchasing books, so classrooms rarely have anything more than a few textbooks issued by the government. Zanzibar’s children are taught in the national language of Swahili until Year Four, after which they are taught in English, so there is a particular demand for English books to help children make this transition. Thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are able to provide many of these books into the schools that need them most and we took Jo, Louise and Amjad to one of those schools.
Our visit started with an early morning trip to Regeza Mwenda Primary School, where more than 2,000 pupils have lessons during the morning before giving over the whole school building to the afternoon shift of secondary school students. This shift system isn’t unusual on Zanzibar, where a growing population and squeezed government resources results in overcrowding in many schools, but Jo, Louise and Amjad were still surprised to see that some classes had to be held out of doors because there wasn’t enough room in the small classrooms, some of which don’t even have furniture.
Despite the challenges the school is facing, we received a lovely warm welcome from the staff and pupils and it was great to see how the school have been using their books. I was inspired to see how hands on Jo, Louise and Amjad were! They got straight down to meeting the children and reading with them. People’s Postcode Lottery is based in Edinburgh so they had brought some beautiful new books about Scotland as gifts. Jo confessed she was worried that they might find words like Edinburgh or concepts like the Loch Ness Monster difficult to understand, but the children immediately began reading with the visitors and loved learning about the new places and ideas!
In the afternoon, we visited the main library to attend the opening ceremony of the new Children’s Corner. Local children entertained the visitors with their traditional dancing and singing, before getting a chance to use the corner themselves and take part in fun reading activities put on by the librarians, while smaller children got to grips with some board books and enjoyed running around in their brand new space.
The generosity of players of People’s Postcode Lottery allows us to do so much and it was absolutely wonderful to see Jo, Louise and Amjad interacting with just of a few of the many thousands of readers who benefit from the £900,000 we have so far received. The timing of the visit was also fantastic, as players of People’s Postcode Lottery are funding the Zanzibar library service to celebrate International Literacy Day on 8 September. These funds will allow the library to welcome more people into reading and helping them create spaces where literacy can thrive and we cannot thank the players enough.
I thoroughly enjoyed giving People’s Postcode Lottery staff a close-up view of what players’ generosity makes possible and we look forward to many more years of working together.
Our entire team here at Book Aid International would like to thank People’s Postcode Lottery for sending Jo, Louise and Amjad to Zanzibar – we hope they enjoyed the visit as much as we did!
Zanzibar is just one of the places where literacy is thriving. Players are also funding International Literacy Day celebrations in 10 other countries and territories. These celebrations take place on Friday, 8 September. For real time updates or to see more of the places where literacy is thriving, follow@book_aid or read our ‘where literacy thrives’ blog.
To celebrate, in the run up we are sharing photos and quotes from our partners and their readers across the world, showing the difference literacy is making for them.
Here is a round up of just a few of the inspiring things they have shared so far.
Children in Nkondo, Rwanda, enjoy books in their homes and local community as part of our partner Ready for Reading‘s outreach programme:
When schools in Chesengoch, a rural village in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, joined our Inspiring Readers programme, adults in community saw an opportunity to learn to read too and started an adult education class.
Now I can read prices and make sure I get a fair price when shopping at the market.
–Florence, 60, new reader, Chesengoch
In Zanzibar, librarians at Unguja library use reading activities like read-alouds to introduce young children to the joy of books and reading:
I believe reading helps us create a clear vision about society.
–Areen Bibal El Ateek, 15, West Bank.
We’ll be sharing more from our partners over the course of the week so check back here or keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook feeds.
This campaign isn’t just about what is happening in our global partner network – we want to see photos of all the ways that literacy is changing people’s lives where you live too. Tweet us or share on Facebook how it’s flourishing where you are – and don’t forget to include the hashtag #LiteracyThrives.
This International Literacy Day, 8th September, Book Aid International is celebrating readers like Florence Chaptlo, 60, who has used books the charity sent to her rural Kenyan village with the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery to learn to read for the first time in her life. Prior to having the books in her adult learning class, she could not even write her name. “Now I can get a fair price when I shop and use a mobile phone!”
The charity’s ‘Where Literacy Thrives’ campaign, which begins on 31st August, will highlight the unsung heroes in public libraries as well as libraries in schools, refugee camps and small community-run libraries who work tirelessly to help people access books and support learners like Florence as they begin to read.
The campaign will see the charity sharing images, stories and videos submitted from its global network of partners around the world which show all the places where literacy is thriving in the week leading up to International Literacy Day on 8th September. Libraries, schools and readers around the world will also be invited to share their own reading experiences and images, quotes and stories of the places where reading and learning are flourishing using the hashtag #LiteracyThrives.
International Literacy Day 2017 is also the charity’s second year providing funds, marketing materials and support to enable libraries to hold their own reading promotion events. This year, thanks to funds from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, 11 libraries in 10 countries will hold community events which will raise awareness of the value of reading. Book Aid International will live tweet as many of these events as possible to end its campaign.
Book Aid International is proud to be helping to create spaces where literacy and learning can thrive even in some of the world’s most isolated and vulnerable communities. The charity’s Head of Programmes, Samantha Thomas-Chuula, explained saying:
“We are very proud to play a role in helping people like Florence to learn to read, who never had the opportunity to learn as a child. These changes can be truly life-changing and we’re looking forward to featuring stories from the places where literacy is thriving despite huge challenges. We’ll feature images supplied from Iraq, traditional pastoral communities in Kenya and even Rwandan hospitals – and we hope that many teachers, readers, librarians and families will join in and share their own stories of the places where #LiteracyThrives!”
Samantha also extended the charity’s thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for helping the charity publicise the campaign and encouraging its players to share their own experiences of the places where literacy thrives on social media.
The campaign begins on 31st August and the charity is encouraging anyone who loves to read to be a part of the campaign by sharing their own reading experiences using the hashtag #LiteracyThrives. To follow the campaign, follow @book_aid, visit www.bookaid.org/latest or like the charity on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bookaid/
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the campaign
Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity sends more than one million books to thousands of libraries around the world where people would otherwise have few opportunities to read.
The charity is marking International Literacy Day on 8th September by shining a light on the work of librarians and teacher-librarians around the world who are creating spaces where literacy and learning can thrive. These often un-sung heroes work tirelessly supporting adult readers who may be beginning to read later in life, helping children growing up in non-literate households discover books and reaching out to even the most remote communities.
The charity will highlight the work of these literacy champions around International Literacy Day by sharing their first-hand photos, quotes, video clips and stories showcasing their work and how literacy is changing lives in their communities. In addition to images, videos and stories from overseas the charity also has a strong literacy case study with high resolution images and a large collection of literacy images that can be put together in a gallery.
For further information, pictures or comment please contact Jenny Hayes, Communications Executive at Book Aid International.
International Literacy Day, 8th September, is just around the corner. Once again, we’ll be marking the occasion by supporting libraries in Africa to hold events promoting the value of reading to their communities, but we also wanted to do a bit more. We’re launching a campaign, ‘Where Literacy Thrives’, to showcase how libraries and librarians create places where literacy can thrive and how books are vital to those still struggling to overcome illiteracy or low reading levels today.
Globally at least 758 million youth and adults still cannot read and write and 250 million children are failing to acquire basic literacy skills[i]. Becoming literate enables people to find jobs, shape their own futures and has even been shown to allow mothers to raise healthier children, so increased literacy rates is vital to changing lives worldwide.
The challenges to literacy differ around the world, but no matter where a person lives they need books to learn to read. Without books in schools, children are less able to become confident readers. Adults with low literacy who cannot access books will have very few opportunities to even attempt to learn to read. These individuals also need support as they begin to read and overcome illiteracy.
Celebrating libraries this International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day is celebrated annually worldwide and brings together governments, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers and learners to mark all that literacy makes possible and reflect on the challenges to literacy that remain.
This year, we are celebrating International Literacy Day by shining a light on the unsung librarians, teachers, volunteers and educators who maintain and create spaces where literacy thrives.
Librarians have a critical role to play in helping children who are growing up in non-literate households discover books and offering a helping hand to adults who are learning to read later in life. Libraries in communities where illiteracy is high are also often best placed to advocate for the value of books and reading in their own communities.
Many of the librarians we support do much more than simply waiting in their libraries for readers to visit. They are reaching out to schools, running mobile library services for remote communities and working with community leaders to raise awareness of the value of literacy.
Highlighting the places where #LiteracyThrives
We have asked our partners around the world to share photos of their work helping literacy and learning flourish. In the run up to International Literacy Day, we will share a photos, quotes and stories from our partners showcasing all the diverse ways that libraries help people discover books, read and become more literate.
Thanks to funds from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are also funding our partners to hold their own events promoting the value of reading on or around International Literacy Day in 10 countries. We’ll cap our International Literacy Day celebrations by live tweeting as many of those events as possible. Follow @book_aid or join us on Facebook to stay up to date.
Show us how #LiteracyThrives where you live
This campaign isn’t just about what is happening in our global partner network – we want to see photos of all the ways that literacy is changing people’s lives where you live. We’re encouraging readers, librarians, families and educators both at home and aboard to join us in the week leading up to International Literacy Day by sharing their own experiences on social media using the hashtag #LiteracyThrives.
To take part, you can:
– Share a photo of yourself reading
– Share a video of your classroom or library
– Share a photo of the book that got you excited about reading
-Share your favourite quote about reading or literacy
– Share a photo of your family reading together
– Share a story of how reading has helped you or someone you know
After International Literacy Day, we’ll pull all of these photos, quotes and videos together and create a gallery that shows all the ways that literacy and books are changing lives. We hope that you will take part as we celebrate literacy!
Don’t forget to include the hashtag #LiteracyThrives!