There are some 2500 primary schools and 250 high schools in Lesotho, and it is our dream to see a library in every one of these schools. Seeing this dream into a reality will depend on ongoing and increased public support.
WHAT WE DO
Books for Lesotho Inc. collects, sorts, packs and transports books that are suitable for placing in libraries in schools in Lesotho, Africa. All books must be in good condition and either in English or Sesotho. You can find out what books are suitable here.
While books are currently being sourced from Adelaide, South Australia, and Melbourne, Victoria, other sources are being explored.
We raise funds by way of donations, sufficient to cover local costs and freight charges to the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) in Maseru, Lesotho. It costs about $0.30 (AUD) per book.
HOW WE OPERATE
Fiction and non-fiction books are donated by schools which no longer require them, libraries cleaning out their shelves and private donors. These are then packed by volunteers according to their suitability for different age groups, ensuring each school receives a range of books for different reading proficiencies.
Before developing Books For Lesotho Inc., David and Liz worked in conjunction with South Pacific School Aid volunteers to pack the books, and have now sent almost 100,000 books to schools in Lesotho. This relationship continues under the project’s new identity.
10 computers, wall posters, various board games, jigsaw puzzles, pens, pencils, rulers, staplers, blank paper, exercise books, folders, and for filling spaces, issues of National Geographic, Australian Geographic and tennis balls have been sent in addition to books.
IMPORTANCE OF LIBRARIES IN LESOTHO’S SCHOOLS
Schools supported by TRC and Books For Lesotho Inc. receive three boxes of books per year over a five year period. These are then used by students in class to help develop their ability to spell and use correct grammar, to widen their vocabularies, to increase their confidence in English, and to allow them to develop an appreciation for reading for enjoyment.
Since receiving books to create libraries, schools have entered and achieved highly in English competitions (TRC conducts reading and spelling competitions), seen better results in students’ schoolwork, allowed students to take books home to read, encouraged students to share what they have learnt from the books during assemblies, formed reading clubs, and shared their libraries with the wider community.
In 2006, our founders, and current members of the Board, David and Liz Linn met the librarian of the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), ‘Me Mosa ‘Muso, while on a visit to Lesotho, Africa. Mosa explained that reading for pleasure is not an African custom and she wanted to encourage students to develop the skill. This was impossible to achieve because at the time very few schools in the country had any form of a library. Learning to read was very important for student development, and especially being able to do so in English, as English is used as the teaching medium for all subject areas in schools (except, of course, when learning their own language, Sesotho). This project springs from Mosa’s plan that TRC should facilitate the establishment of libraries in schools. Between 2007 and 2016, about 50 schools have received books as well as some 7 organisations that work with children, mostly assisting disadvantaged children. Currently, each school receives an annual allocation of 3 boxes of books (average of just under 500 books per school per year) and do so for a maximum of 5 consecutive years.