In a country where the average daily salary is about $1.50 after the basic necessities are paid for, there is nothing left for extras such as books and writing materials. Aware of these hardships and committed to encouraging literacy initiatives in developing countries, our council has made a cash donation of $100.00 (282, 653 Ugandan shillings) to the Busolwe, Uganda Community Library Early Literacy Program. With this money the Busolwe Library Committee was able to create a kindergarten room with small benches and tables, pencils, crayons and paper as well as a number of books appropriate for early learners. Now the young children and their caregivers have a special place to get together, sing songs, draw pictures, and listen to stories.
BCLCIRA has found a way to ensure that 100 % of the money was used for this kindergarten room. Our contact person is a Ugandan professor from Busolwe who recently graduated from the Language and Literacy doctoral program at the University of British Columbia. In this small town, four hours from Kampala, this is the first kindergarten community room. It is a dedicated space for moms and tots to experience early literacy activities. For the children and their caregivers, this room helps to create a special and unique opportunity, one that it is hoped, will lead to a greater interest in literacy success when children begin school.
For the last few years BCLCIRA has been supporting the Busolwe Community Library with the donation of children’s books sent by mail and delivered in person. However this latest donation was our opportunity to help build a room that would be used to encourage an early literacy program. Needless to say, we are very proud of our connection to literacy practices in Busolwe and do appreciate that our friendship with this Ugandan community is an important one for us and for the members of this Ugandan community.
BCLCIRA Mentorvisor, Dr. Honey Halpern, is currently in Uganda to support literacy educators. The British Columbia Reading Council members collected books for library shelves in Stand Tall Education School (www.standtalleducation.org). You can follow Honey's adventures in Reading with Ugandan children at the following place: http://eastafricandiary.wordpress.com/
On behalf of the BCLCIRA, Kate Spence (Vice President) presents Romy Senghera, Youth Team Leader at Mt. Pleasant Neighbourhood House, with over 100 gently used books. The books will be distributed to children and youth in daycare, preschool, after-school, and leadership programs.
The goal of Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House is to make the Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood a better place to live. The house offers a safe, supportive space where youth, seniors, new immigrants, the differently-abled, young parents, those who are isolated, people from all cultures and all walks of life are able to come together to create community. A comprehensive Community Literacy Program for newcomers is one of many services they provide.