Newsletter #23, September 2021

In Memory of Brian Bridger:

Brian died during July 2021. He was a long-term member of the Over 50’s Mitcham Exercise Group and staunch supporter of Books for Lesotho within that Group. For several years, this group has helped B4L by regularly donating small change at class sessions. Brian always helped out with donation collections when I was away. At the suggestion of Jennifer Dow, members of the Group made donations to Books for Lesotho in his memory (and I am sure Brian would have approved).  Donations totalled $140.00. B4L thanks the donors and we offer our condolences to his wife Jenny and the family. On an extra and very sad note, I report that more recently, Brian’s wife, Jenny, has also died.

Occupational Health & Safety – Help in The Barn

Wome of the B4L volunteers were showing their age when they made a request for mechanical help to place the heavy filled cartons on either the bottom layer on a pallet, or the top layer (3rd level). They recently received that help with the acquisition of a new hydraulic scissor lifter trolley – Left: see Ray and Rob in action using the new equipment. The cartons are now packed on the lifter and when sealed the lifter is rolled near to the required position on the pallet. The cartons are then easily slid into place. The B4L Board approved the purchase as capital item utilising some of the previous generous grant from the Lang Foundation (thank you).

Another valuable and generous donation arrives at The Barn:

You may recall seeing a simlar image to the one left…. This is  “repeat”. This pallet load of new cartons arrived recently from Melboure, generously donated and freighted by Chris from Preschem Pty Ltd. Chris is a great supported of Lesothoand helps B4L in this fashion according to our need for cartons (and this does seem to be quite often). Thank you, Chris. 

A contribution from Maddie:

Maddie is one of B4L’s newest volunteers. She haswritten about her involvement with B4L.  

Hi, I’m Madeline and I recently started volunteering at B4L, Initially, I was just looking to fill my time but after seeing the work done at B4L I’m now very passionate about it. Seeing the sheer number of books that go through the barn and get sorted and packed into boxes to be sent off is really inspiring; it truly is amazing how much we are able to send to Lesotho. At B4L I mostly sort books by checking themes, the complexity of words, and readability in terms of typeface, font size, etc, and decide what age group the books are appropriate for. Being at B4L has been wonderful, the environment is lovely with everyone being so welcoming and joyous, and knowing that I’m helping this organization to make a real difference really is wonderful. Whilst I started simply looking to fill time, now I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Liz and Maddie wonder about some of the books,
Two other new(ish) volunteers – Hank and Callum with long-timer and member of the Board,  Rob, dealing with books from Westminster School and the Mitcham Library Service

2020/21 FINANCES (unaudited):

To 30 June 2021: Donations = $14,203                     

Expenses = $13,973 (freight costs have just risen by 55% – and this is our main expense)

In the June 2021, B4L made an appeal for last minute donations to close the gap on our expenses. Last minute donations “closed the gap” – thank you

2021/22 FINANCES: 

The B4L Board has approved a budget of $17,183 compared with $14,203 last year. This figure is likely to present a challenge to meet through our only source of income – your donations.

To 30 September 2021: Donations = $3,893              

David Linn 

Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #22, June 2021

NEWSLETTER No. 22, JUNE 2021

A Great Loss to Humanity

On Wednesday 09 June 2021, I advised you all that ‘M’me Mosa Muso had died. I wrote: “She was a quiet, intelligent and caring human. I “blame” Mosa for the fact that we are here this morning at The Barn in Adelaide packing books for Lesotho – a project which Liz and I started (with, over time, huge help from lots of other people) in response to Mosa’s dream of establishing a library in every school in Lesotho. Since accepting the original challenge, Books for Lesotho has shipped books to the Transformation Resource Centre (for which Mosa was Librarian for many years) and more recently also to the Rotary Club of Maloti. It is to RCoMa that we are about to send 5 pallets of books which will bring the total number of books shipped to Lesotho to more than 210,000.”

We have since received the report: ”The funeral went so well with so many people mostly her friends from Lesotho and South Africa. But it was so emotional, many people crying. She is resting in peace.”

In my email, many of you received a very poor 3rd image, so I repeat it here – in memory of Mosa. It was taken at Welkom, South Africa, February 2020.

Now, A SURPRISE:

It was an email from Candice Page from the Friends of Springbank Secondary College:

“I recently nominated the team from Books for Lesotho, for the “Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Volunteer Service Award”. The nomination was successful, and I have received the Premier’s Certificate for presentation.

Lesotho holds many precious memories for me, and I am in awe of the fabulous work that this special team of volunteers do. They absolutely need to be celebrated.

Kind regards

Candice Page”

Wow! What good friends we have! But see later….

Then along came ANOTHER SURPRISE – on the 18th May: First, some background. The Rotary Club of St Peters runs “Rotary-on-Linde Shed” which looks to me a great place to check out https://portal.clubrunner.ca/12651 B4L receives regular donations of books from the Club usually delivered by member John Dumberley. During one delivery, John invited me to speak to the Club, which I willingly did. Liz and I were warmly welcomed and enjoyed their fellowship. I presented the B4L story in my usual way, after which I was thanked and presented with a couple of chocolates to enjoy with my coffee! Suddenly, John was beside me proffering an envelope. I read the front and my mouth dropped in dis-belief as it advised that the cheque inside was for $1,000. Wow! What good friends we have! 

Image shows: Club President, Bill Winslow with Arthur Terrell, Liz and David Linn, John Dumberley and Phil Smith.

2020/21 FINANCES: 

Donations = $12,047              Same period last year = $10,892

Expenses (estimate) = $13,973 (freight costs have just risen by 55% – this is our main expense)

Help us “Close-the -gap”… $1926 by 30 June 2021

Shows the care Rotary takes with the delivery of books
Pallet of books from Melbourne

Do you recall the report of a pallet arriving at The Barn during January loaded with empty cartons in which we pack books destined for Lesotho? Well, during April another pallet arrived from Melbourne, also courtesy of Chris McEvoy of Preschem Pty Ltd. These books are mainly from Epping Primary School. 

Here’s dedication:

Tina Berkley from Epping Primary School (refer to image above right) wrote in response to our thanks: “You are very welcome. glad we can help such a good cause. Parents have already started to donate more books”. 

WHAT’S THIS?   From another generous donor – Jurlique in Mt Barker, SA. These are second-hand plastic pallets on which B4L packs the cartons ready for shipping. Thank you Jurlique. (B4L uses plastic pallets our shipments transit in Singapore and that port does not accept wooden pallets.) 

WHAT HAPPENS? …to books that do not suit B4L partners? Where possible we “recycle” them to other book-related NGOs. Image right shows Liz and David making such a deliver during April to our friends at South Pacific School Aid (SPSA). While there, they collected a huge box of atlases in very good condition and a box of dictionaries – both of these items have been in short supply lately at B4L. Importantly they also collected a range of books to include in the shipment to Rotary Club of Maloti which are heading for the community library at Mpharane started by Ntate Mothae Moletsane (about which you have read a lot in the last 2 newsletters). What we sought was books for an adult audience which B4L does not usually have – SPSA helped to partially fill the requirement. Thank you, friends.

It’s nice to know when enough books have been delivered

To the right is Morija Guest House (you must stay there when you visit Lesotho!) It is owned by Brigitte Hall-Cathala. Brigitte also hosts a local centre for children and young people (see the Centre below the Guest House in the second image). B4L has supplied the centre with books sent via partner TRC. Here is her recent message:

“Thanks a lot for your message and the attached Newsletter. They show that your energy level is as high as ever, well done! 

I was very interested to read the full story of Books for Lesotho beginnings as told by ‘M’e Mosa, she sounds like a remarkable lady! 

I was also very glad to read that the Morija Seminary will soon receive a shipment of books, wonderful news. 

On our side, the Ha Matela Youth Centre was very happy and grateful to receive the 2 large boxes you sent in 2020. Our library is quite full now, even with the shelves we added!  So I think I should tell you not to include us in future shipments, not out of lack of gratitude but because I guess that many other centres or schools need your help while we are doing OK, at least as far as books are concerned. Unfortunately, other aspects of our work are not so positive, especially as we probably will not get any new volunteers (editor: from Europe) till 2022 so we have to find new ways of running the Centre.”

AND AN EMAIL “OUT OF THE BLUE”…. We received a message and images (showing how B4L contact details were found) during March from Thato Moleki who is a Student Assistant at Methodist High School in Maseru. He reported on the receipt of books from B4L through TRC and offered support for the project.

Thank you, Thato. We hope our books haver widened the range of books available on the school library.

WHAT’S THIS?

Do you recall the image above in the last newsletter? It was the “mysterious 8th pallet” being sent with the shipment to TRC being books suitable for the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) Morija Theological Seminary.

The books have arrived in Lesotho (see below). The interest here was so high that sufficient books were donated to fill a 2nd pallet which is due to leave The Barn before the end of June with the shipment for Rotary Club of Maloti.

As reported previously, such a shipment does not match the B4L goal of developing libraries in schools, but it did match helping people in Lesotho with reading resources. Adding to an existing shipment is not a burden to B4L. The costs must be covered by a private funds which are still needed, mainly because of the recent increase in shipping charges. I think this is an amazing result.

We now have a report from Ntate Matsobane Putsoa (both a Rotarian and a supporter of the seminary) who wrote:

“The books were handed over yesterday on 19th May. The school lecturers were very excited about the quality of the books and the renowned authors. They are convinced they are going to pass the accreditation inspection next week because of their improved library. Thank you so much Books 4 Lesotho – this from all of us – Rotarians, lecturers and students.”

Here are images of the book hand-over and a view inside the library.

LATEST NEWS 1

 I refer back to the “surprise” mentioned on page 1…. Books for Lesotho is very proud to receive the Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. and grateful to Candice for nominating us.

The B4L Board agreed to host a morning tea Wednesday 16 June at which time the certificate was presented by Carolyn Power MP with Candice joining in. Unfortunately, most of the Wednesday volunteers were off doing other things, but those of us who braved the weather had a lovely morning tea and lots of fun.

LATEST NEWS 2

Two large black plastic boxes of books have come from Narangba Valley State High School in Queensland organised by Tamara Holden in the school resource centre…

LATEST NEWS 3

The shipment of 4 pallets of books for Rotary Club of Maloti together with a (second) pallet of theology books for Morija Theological Seminary (the latter funded privately) left The Barn on 23 June 2021. The image was supplied by Hank who is one of the new volunteers needed to supplement the sorting team.

OTHER NEWS

  1. SUPPLY OF BOOKS – There continues to be a shortage of non-fiction at secondary level and fiction at lower secondary school level: can you help? Please ask at your local school, or friends or…..
  2. MITCHAM 50-AND-OVER EXERCISE GROUP – Since July 2020, donations have      totalled $719 compared with $822 for last year. Thank you.

FINANCES

Donations = $12,047              Same period last year = $10,892

Expenses (estimate) = $13,973 (freight costs have just risen by 55% – this is our main expense)

Help us “Close-the -gap”… $1926

TOO MANY WORDS?

Once again, at the start of preparing the Newsletter, I expected it would be a short one, but the news keeps rolling in – like the books do. 

Thank you everyone who has contributed in whatever way.

David Linn 

Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

NEWSLETTER No. 21, MARCH 2021

WHAT’S THIS? 

During January, the pallet (left) loaded with
empty cartons arrived at The Barn. The
consignment came from Melbourne –
generously donated by Chris McEvoy of
Preschem Pty Ltd. Chris is a long-term
supporter of Books for Lesotho and of the
people of Lesotho. What happens to such a
carton? Each one is carefully packed with
books using every available space; then it is
sealed and loaded onto a pallet (right) ready
for despatch.

WHAT’S THIS?

To the left: it’s 8 pallets of books sitting in line at The  

Barn ready for pickup during February. They all left  

The Barn (right) on 03 February 2021 destined for the  

Transformation Resource Centre in Lesotho. This is  

the 14th shipment to TRC and brings the total number  

of shipments to 17 since 2007.  

The usual number of pallets for TRC is 7. What was the 8th pallet about? – read below…

WHAT’S THIS?

This is the mysterious 8th pallet, with a story attached:  Lesotho is an openly religious nation. From my experience, almost every  meeting opens with prayer, and often moves effortlessly into song. I was not  surprised when on my last visit (now over 12 months ago), I was approached as  to whether B4L could supply suitable books to a theological college. Such a  shipment does not match the B4L goal of developing libraries in Schools, but it  did match helping people in Lesotho with reading resources, while adding to an  existing shipment is of no burden to B4L. The Board endorsed this special project. The image shows one of the  B4L keen volunteer sorters and packers, Brian Webber. Brian responded to the request to support the library of  the Morija Theological Seminary. It belongs to the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA),  the main protestant denomination in Lesotho. Therefore, as a separate initiative, Brian sourced books from 3  Adelaide-based theological colleges and some private sources as well as securing donations to cover the costs of  shipping one full pallet of books, consolidated with the load to TRC. Brian acknowledges the donors, especially  Malvern (SA) Uniting Church for their support of this special project. Here is a link for further information. Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa – Christian Council of Lesotho (ccl.org.ls) 

Latest news: More theology books have been donated, sufficient to make up another full pallet – now packed  and wrapped ready to ship. Brian is now seeking funding to get the books to Lesotho, this time consolidated  with the next shipment to the Rotary Club of Maloti. I think this is an amazing result.

WHO HAD THE INSPIRATION AND IDEA FOR BOOKS FOR LESOTHO? 

The person who can be credited (or is it “blamed”?) for having the idea of sending books to schools in Lesotho  is Me Mosa Muso (pictured here with her husband, Lehlohonolo). I invited Mosa to tell her story for this  newsletter in which we celebrate the sending of over 200,000 books to Lesotho! Here  is her message to us all:  

My passion for reading started in 1969 when I was doing my Junior Certificate whereby we  

held reading competitions and prizes were awarded to the person wo read the most books.  

The library was of a very good standard because the school was run by the Sisters of the  

Good Shepherd from Canada. This motivated me to work at the bookshop in (the town of)  

Mazenod when I finished my Matric. In 1978 I went overseas and lived in Sweden. When I left  Lesotho one of the managers at the bookshop encouraged me to do Librarianship if I was to  

continue with my studies. Therefore when I arrived in Sweden I did that for two years. I came  back to Lesotho in 1987. In 1988 I got a job in South Africa where I worked at the library at  the University of the North and that’s when my dream of involving students in the reading  

field was born. While I was working there I organised a reading competition amongst 

primary schools in the area which was held at the University’s library. I came back to  

Lesotho when I got a job at the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) in 1992. When I  

arrived at TRC I realised that there were a lot of materials such as journals, newspapers and  magazines that were not being used. It was then I had a vision of involving high school  

learners to make use of these materials to enhance their English and gain knowledge of issues around them. Lesotho has  many schools that are situated in the mountains with no access to libraries. As a Librarian at TRC we took all these  materials and distributed them to some of the schools for them to use. We did that in the district of Qacha’s Nek and  Quthing. I left TRC after 2 years to other adventures, then the whole project came to a halt.  

Fate led me back to TRC in 2003, and two years later there it happened that Mr David and Liz Linn from Australia visited  TRC for their own reasons. We talked about the interest of involving the Basotho children into reading but unfortunately  there were no available books in the TRC library at the time and the schools did not have libraries either. We tried to come up with solutions to help address this problem. David and Liz then promised to assist me to reach this dream of  helping unprivileged Basotho children who had no access to libraries. This was the birth of Books for Lesotho Project  (B4L). From that year on when they visited TRC up to today Books for Lesotho has distributed 201,113 books and some  teaching aids to over 120 schools and organisations working with juveniles. 

It was through the good hearts of Australian people that they were able to collect these books yearly for Basotho schools.  This was done in order to help Basotho children in the most remote areas to have access to books As a pensioner now I  am proud to have achieved my dream of being able to assist a Mosotho child to have access to books despite where the  schools are situated. 

I hope this project will continue in the years to come until all the schools have access to books, regardless of their location. 

Thank you, Mosa 

OTHER NEWS

1.Payments by PayPal – Books for Lesotho Inc has established an account with PayPal Giving Fund. The  Fund is a registered charity for tax purposes which then remits donated funds to your nominated charity.  The link is on page 3 of this Newsletter. 

2. A BRANCH OF B4L IN SYDNEY – The establishment of such a branch, B4L(NSW) moves slowly,  mainly being held up by COVID issues. 

3. SUPPLY OF BOOKS – Because books come in the door and then go out again, B4L is in continual need  of suitable books. There continues to be shortage at secondary school level of novels and particularly non fiction: can you help? Please ask at your local school, or friends or….. 

4. MITCHAM 50-AND-OVER EXERCISE GROUP – Members of this group have been long-term  supporters of B4L mainly through regular “small-change” donations. Since July 2020, donations have  totalled $565 compared with $822.00 in the same period last year..

I

INSIDE THE BARN 

Here is the next offering from a volunteer involved with B4L, in this case Rob Langley who volunteers at The  Barn (does all the running-around The Barn jobs, as per the image below) and is also a B4L Board member.  

Rob writes: Whilst shelving books which our skilled sorters have classified into their appropriate school year  level, I often pick up a book which reminds me of Deirdre – my late dearly beloved sister – who lost her battle  with ovarian cancer at far too young an age. It might be a book by Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain  or R.M. Ballantyne. Dee was seven years older than me and in the days before television, she used to read to my  brother and me for hours. She would read a chapter from each of up to four books  

She would read until she “lost her voice”. This resulted in leaving me in a state of  unbearable suspense causing me to “jump the gun” and read the books myself. It is  to Dee that I owe my love of reading. If my volunteering at the Books for Lesotho  barn in some small way contributes to children also gaining a love of reading, then  

I feel that I am honouring Dee’s gift. 

FINANCES 

Straight facts: 

Donations since 01 July 2020 = $8,844.37 (9 months) 

Same period last year = $8,100 

Budget for 2020/21 = $14,203 

Help us “Close-the -gap”… $6,100 

In December 2020, B4L received a cheque from PayPal Giving Fund for $733.48 (net after costs) from an  unknown donor. We cannot trace the source of a donation made through Facebook/PayPal account, so we  cannot say “thank you” directly. We hope, if you are a reader of this newsletter, you will contact us so we can  say it directly. A very generous and welcome contribution. 

There are now three ways to donate – each one will produce a receipt for Australian tax purposes.  

THOUGHTFULNESS 

On 10 February, a kind-being called at The Barn at morning tea time along with a sticky Krispy Kreme  doughnut for each helper. Thank you, Candice for your kindness which was delivered with a sticker from  “Friends of Springbank Secondary College”. Check them out: Friends of Springbank Secondary College (2) Friends of Springbank Secondary College | Facebook

And, out of no-where came this message… after reading the label on one of the pallets … 

“Good afternoon, I’m Thato Moleleki from Lesotho, Southern Africa. I set up  

and currently work at one of the libraries you ship books to. I’m looking  

forward to help any way I can to make the whole idea of creating reading  

communities in Africa a success. On behalf of my country we are really  

grateful! Thank you.”  

Thato tells me that he is a student assistant at the Methodist High School  

in Berea, a suburb of Maseru the capital city. We  

seldom receive direct feedback from recipient  

schools, so this is a well-received message; thank you Thato. Because of the way books  are currently handled in Lesotho, I am not sure what Thato can do to help the project.  However, judging from the image he sent (shown above together with (right) a copy of the  carton label) he is doing a great job in setting up the library. The next best thing he can do  is to ensure that students have every opportunity to use the books, including introducing a  borrowing system – which he may already have done. 

Do you recall the report on the community library that Ntate (Mr) Mothae Moletsane started? He recently sent me a report posted by a local journalist… I thought you would like to read it: 

Local People Applauds Mpharane Community Library by a Staff Reporter  

Life for members of the community in Mpharane village of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho, will never be the same again. This  after a community library, complete with a generous donation from Books For Lesotho (B4L), was made on 11 September  2020. Since then, members of the community in one of the remotest villages in the Kingdom of Lesotho, where access to  electricity and good communication are out of reach, have been able to borrow books and reading material from the  community library. Like many other areas in Lesotho, Mpharane is characterized by poverty and illiteracy among the  villagers – but members of the community say they want to be at par with the rest of the country, and indeed the global  world, in terms of access to information. Their pleas were heard when the Rotary Club of Maloti handed over five boxes of  books that were shipped from Australia by Books For Lesotho to Mpharane Community Library. The Rotary Club of Maloti  said it was proud to be in partnership with Books For Lesotho to distribute the books during its ‘Basic Education and  Literacy’ campaign in September last year. The Coordinator of the Mpharane Community Library project, Mothae  Moletsane, said the community was particularly grateful to Linn couple, founders of the B4L project for the donation. He  said the library becomes among the first in the country to be spearheaded by members of the community who are  making every effort to have it run and benefit everyone, in particular the youth and school children. Moletsane said apart  from the donated books, the library also stocks newspapers that were donated as returns by some local prominent media  houses such as Public Eye, Lesotho Times, The Post and others in Maseru, the capital. The library also stocks periodicals  and reading material like government gazettes and hazards from various government institutions that are based in  Mohale’s Hoek town – about an hour’s drive from the village through gravel road. Moletsane also said the community  was grateful to the owners of the building that houses the library for letting it out at reasonable rental for community  use. “Mpharane village is surrounded by about 12 primary schools and one High School and will therefore act as an  information and resource centre for these communities. However, for the library and resource centre to be more effective  we need more support from other donors and public entities,” he said. Moletsane said the most urgent need at the library  was to have it electrified through a government scheme project to communities or solar systems and other renewable  energy methods. He said the last time that the committee that runs the library asked for a quotation to buy a solar  energy system, the costs were too high to be raised from the members’ subscriptions. He therefore appealed to local  companies that deal with solar and renewable energy to consider this project next time they think about community  social responsibility initiatives. “We are also appealing to businesses and other organisations in the country to assist us to 

pay for the running costs of maintaining the building as well as looking after the volunteer librarian’s needs. Once we  have electricity we will be able to use computers and install the internet at the library to make it a one-stop all-purpose  resource centre for the community, “he said. Apart from this, Moletsane said, the resource centre will be able to run its  own fund-raising projects such as selling snacks and sweets as well as offering services such as typing, printing and  photocopying to the community. It is estimated that there are around 12, 000 villagers within the Mpharane constituency  and therefore such services will be readily received as the area is far away from the town. “If our plans of turning the  community library into a multi-purpose information and resource centre are successful then it will become a pilot project  in Lesotho. This will also help the youths who have finished school and are looking for jobs to search for employment and  apply through the internet without having to go to Mohale’s Hoek or Maseru,” he said. On the other hand, Moletsane  said the members of the community library committee are grateful for the support from local companies such as Blue  Ribbon Bakery for the food and refreshments offered to villagers at the launch of the library last year. He also expressed  his gratefulness to several government departments that came to the launch, including the ministries of Education,  Health, Law, Justice and Police, Local Government and others, for their support. 

Once again, at the start of preparing the Newsletter, I expected it would be a short one, but the news keeps  rolling in – like the books do. 

Thank you everyone who has contributed in whatever way. 

David Linn  

Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #20, December 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Board of Books for Lesotho!

NEWS 

1. A NEW BRANCH IN SYDNEY – The B4L Board recently approved a Business Plan and Memorandum  of Understand for consideration by a group based in Sydney with the intention of commencing a branch  in Sydney. I hope by Newsletter No. 21 to be able to report that it is up and running. 

2. THE BARN has been operating at top pace since re-opening on 29 April with all volunteers keeping busy. In the September Newsletter I reported tNhat we needed books because of a slow-up in deliveries due to  COVID-19. South Pacific School Aid came to our immediate aid with a generous supply of mainly upper  secondary novels – thank you SPSA. In due course, deliveries picked up such that sorters have not been  short of work… However, there continues to be shortage at secondary school level of novels and non fiction: can you help? Please ask at your local school, or friends or….. 

3. IMMANUEL COLLEGE AND BOOK WEEK 

Through the good services of Dr Kylie Booker and  Resource Centre staff, he Senior School supported B4L  again during Book Week. B4L volunteers collected a  great store of books from the school – donated by  students during Book Week. We also received a cash  donation – something that is needed to support the  sending of the books to Lesotho. Thank you all.

 4. OTHER BOOK DONORS – Thank you to all who have delivered books to B4L this year, especially those after the COVID-19 closures, including many new donors.

 5. MITCHAM 50-AND-OVER EXERCISE GROUP Members of this group have been long-term supporters of B4L mainly through voluntary donations, usually by placing small amounts into a “tin” at the entrance to their exercise sessions. Things have been  very unsettled since the start of COVID-19 and upon return much uncertainty about a venue. As a result,  the regular pattern of giving has been disrupted and donations are down; in the past six months $373.75  compared with $529.00 in the same period last year. B4L hopes the loyal supporters will seek out the  “tin” and start up again.

6. REMEMBER in the last Newsletter I reported on the Rotary Club of Maloti sharing in the opening of the  new village Library in Mpharane (in the Mohaleshoek district) – an initiative of Ntate (Mr) Mothae  Moletsane. He recently sent me two reports:

Hallo David ….!! It’s been a long time. How is life? Lesotho is good. We had enough rain recently to  plough our fields. I was busy in the fields. Covid 19 has really taugh us a lesson as individuals that we  must work hard to produce more especially on Agriculture. We are still trying to instil the culture of  reading to our local community …they are not using the library very often, but bit by bit, we are getting  there. Community mostly need daily services like photo-copying and printing. However, we are still  looking forward to receiving more books early next year from B4L project. Mothae 

Good morning David! How is life? We are currently busy working  in the fields here in Lesotho, planting summer crops. I just bought  this coloured printer, photocopy and scanning machine for our  community library, as most people come to the library looking for  this kind of services. We are slowly getting there. We receive free  weekly newspapers from three English Newspaper namely Public  Eye, Lesotho Times and The Post Newspaper. The Government  Sesotho newspaper, “Lentsoe La Basotho” also agreed to give us  free copies every Wednesday, though we have not yet started  collecting them. Some local communities are starting to donate books to the library, e.g. last week one  Court Magistrate who is from our area donated 5 good books. We highly appreciate that. We hope the  money collected from photocopies and printing will help to give our volunteer a small monthly stipend. We also give M200 (AUD20) monthly to the owner of the building. We might also get second hand/used  bookshelves from the National University of Lesotho. Good news on harvesting …we currently have good  rains and we also hoping for good harvest next winter ….cheers! Mothae 

Sounds like good news for Lesotho on several fronts. 

FROM INSIDE THE BARN

This item continues the series where
we hear from a volunteer at The Barn.
Here is Ray Janus who is our expert
book packer, diligent counter (how do
you think we know how many books
we have sent?) and very regular
volunteer.

On entering the barn where B4L is located one encounters a somewhat chaotic collection of shelves, tables and
books seemingly stashed in any number of places. A closer inspection reveals that there is a specific location for
everything to accommodate sorted and unsorted books, packed pallets and specific spots for sorting and
packing books. There are even dedicated spaces for incomplete book series, teaching materials and games but
unfortunately for the volunteers there is no space for a tea-room although outdoors is a pleasant option most
days.
All the books are sorted into appropriate age levels and are either stored or packed as required. The variety and
quality of the books is very impressive with only a small number requiring minor repairs. The most interesting
section for this volunteer is the 1 to 3 school year level that spans the learning to read years. These books come

3in all shapes and sizes (that can be
awkward to pack) and cover many
topics with some having strange
titles such as ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon


Drive the Bus!’. It is interesting to
note how so many of the books
have animal characters. The best
part of the books is the attractive
artwork which is detailed and
colourful. This is a significant
change from when there werelimited children’s books with black and white illustrations (Left Figure) to now (Right Figure).

FINANCES
Straight facts:
Donations since 01 July 2020 = $8,479
Same period last year = $4,350
Budget for 2020/21 = $14,203
Help us “Close-the -gap”… $5,724
B4L started the 2020/21 financial year confident that funds will be raised to cover the shipping costs of another
11 pallets of books for our current two in-country partners, Rotary Club of Maloti and Transformation Resource
Centre. We look forward to your continued support. Thank you…

Help us “Close-the -gap”… $5,724 

B4L started the 2020/21 financial year confident that funds will be raised to cover the shipping costs of another  11 pallets of books for our current two in-country partners, Rotary Club of Maloti and Transformation Resource  Centre. We look forward to your continued support. Thank you…

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #19 September 2020

MIXED NEWS

  1. Budget vs income for 2019/20:
    Final figures: Budget was AUD13,604 while donations totalled AUD10,892. This is the first year that
    Books for Lesotho has recorded a deficit. Thank you all who contributed over this difficult year.
  2. The Barn has been operating at full swing since re-opening on 29 April with volunteers keen to be busy
    and useful again even while taking precautions against the virus. Deliveries have continued over the
    period, but at a much reduced rate – books are now needed!! Please ask at your local school, or friends
    or…..
  3. MITCHAM 50-AND-OVER EXERCISE GROUP
    Members of this group has been a long-term supporters of B4L mainly through voluntary donations with
    this usually being by way of placing small amounts into a “tin” at the entrance to their exercise sessions.
    Things have been very unsettled for the group since the start of COVID-19 and upon return much
    uncertainty about a venue. As a result, the regular pattern of giving has been disrupted and donations
    are down. B4L hopes those of the group who have been loyal supporters will seek out the “tin” and start
    up again. Thank you for your moral and $ support.

LOTS OF GOOD NEWS – Many items here!

  1. Many of our regular “suppliers” have continued or resumed supply to B4L. One of these is the Adelaide
    Hills Council Library Service. Following the most recent delivery, Collections Support Offices Michaela
    Dore shared that some of the staff were looking forward to retiring so they could join in the sorting and
    packing operation – surely this means Books for Lesotho has a secure future!!
  2. The annual shipment to the Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMa) arrived at the Lesotho border with South
    Africa on 31 August ready for customs clearance. Rotary members wrote that they were very excited as
    the delivery was in time for Rotary Basic Education and Literacy Month in Lesotho which is being held
    despite the close down of schools due to COVID-19.
    I have learned since heard from ‘Me Yande Sikazwe-Mothae, 2020/21 President of RCoMa:
    Thank you, David. Like I advised earlier, this is the right time for the books to come in. Schools are
    reopening after the Covid situation and we have Basic Education and Literacy in Rotary this month – so
    quite exciting. We are truly grateful for the support you render to Lesotho and extremely appreciative.
    Regards
    Yande
    Rotary took possession of the shipment a few days later, as the first 2 images following testify!

 3. David and Liz met Mr Mothae Moletsane when he worked for our other partner, Transformation  Resource Centre (TRC). A few months ago, Mothae contacted B4L requesting books to start a  community library in his village, Mpharane (in the Mohaleshoek district). As Rotary projects are  more focussed on community development (which includes schools and pre-schools) than TRC (very  focussed on schools), Rotary agreed to include books for that Mpharane library. Mothae collected the  5 boxes within a few days of their arrival with RCoMa and organised a launch of the new library. 

Almost 100 people attended the opening on 11th September 2020 including from local communities,  media outlets and special guests: Principal Chief of Pontseng, Mrs  

‘Mamohale Mohale; other local chiefs; Chairperson of Thaba-Mikhele  Community Council in Mpharane, Mr Mahlatsi Makakole; Ministry of  Education District Resource Teacher, Mrs Kekeletso Kotelo; Headmaster of  Mt Carmel School, Mr Lelingoana Moroke; members of RCoM including the  District Governor (Mrs Maud Boikanyo), 2020 Club President (Mrs Yande Sikazwe-Mothae), President Elect (Ms Heshie Serobanyane), Past President  and Director of Projects (Mr Tlhako Mokhoro), Past President and Director of  Foundation (Ms Lucy Liphafa), Rotarian Ms Limpho Setomi and their 14 y.o. guest, Thabelo Serobanyane. You will notice local ladies carrying bread  donated for the celebratory opening by Blue Ribbon Company.

Ntate Tlhako wrote to me, “It was definitely a resounding success, judging by enthusiasm of the local people, in particular. The speech by a representative he nearby school, which received books previously, sharing the benefits and  experience with having a library.” 

B4L trusts the books selected in far-away Adelaide will form the basis of a  useful library in the community. We received a very prompt report on the  suitability of our selection:

I’m very impressed with the choice of books we received. They are very  good books indeed! We are very happy with the quality of the books,  Regards  Mothae”.  

B4L congratulates Ntate Mothae Moletsane (shown left) on this initiative
and the Rotary Club of Maloti for supporting his efforts. B4L plans to
help the community add to the collection. (You might see the few books
on the shelves! Mr Mothae advises that the other boxes could not be
brought for the opening due to limited transport available at the time.)

RCoMa members do not sleep! On 22 September 2020, I received the following report from Mme
Yande Sikazwe-Mothae, current President of RCoMa:
ROTARY REACHES OUT TO THE JUVENILES – PRESS RELEASE
Today the Rotary Club of Maloti outdid themselves when they reached out to Juveniles who are considered to be
students at the Juveniles Training Center under Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) and donated educational
books to them. Speaking at the auspicious occasion, the president of the club Mrs Yande Sikazwe -Mothae said in
Rotary, they strongly believe in education, so much so that the month of September is themed Basic Education and
literacy month. She quoted the great Nelson Mandela when he said “Education is the most powerful weapon

4
which you can use to change the world”, and she said they as Rotarians truly believe this hence why they
prioritise education. Mrs Sikazwe-Mothae mentioned that this Rotary year has been themed “Rotary opens
opportunities”, and therefore through education that they believe that opportunities can be opened.
Mrs Sikazwe-Mothae said they in Rotary are a group of volunteers who believe in “service above self”, they use
their time and resources to help those who are less fortunate and they do this in collaboration with other
organisations throughout the world. She mentioned that for the past few years, they have received educational
books from an organisation in Australia called Books for Lesotho through Mr David Linn which they then
distributed to schools. In the past two weeks they helped launch a library in Mpharane Mohale’s Hoek called
Mpharane Community Library. Last week they donated educational books to four schools being Lithabaneng
high school, Methodist high school, Life high school and St Angela high school. Notwithstanding they felt that the
students who consist of 5 girls and 32 boys who must be catered for and should not be forgotten in society as we
still owe them a responsibility to develop them and prepare them for life after rehabilitation . She said they
strongly believe that during their rehabilitation, education will play an important part in ensuring that they are
better citizens who can contribute to the development of the country.
In his remarks, the Commissioner of LCS Mr Majara portrayed his heartfelt gratitude towards Rotary. He said the
Juvenile Training Centre (JTC) is an institution where the Basotho children who have been in conflict with the
law are being sent to be guided and corrected properly by the staff of LCS, other members of the society and
officials from different Ministries like the department of Education . Commissioner Majara said to President
Yande that it was only a few days ago when she said they wished to donate the books from Australia that would
be used by the children so that they could develop themselves through these reading materials and today indeed
that became reality and he said he was thankful. He said it is important that education should be one of the
fundamental tools for children and they must not be discriminated as they too deserve education.
One of the beneficiaries on behalf of all juveniles (name withheld for protection of minor child) said he thanked
everyone, especially the Rotary Club of Maloti as they felt honoured to be given the books which he said they will
use for their education. He said their teacher will make sure they use the books well for their benefit. He also
thanked the media saying through them, people will know that they too exist. He further thanked Rotary that even
though they were in a correctional facility because they wronged the community they felt loved knowing that
others regard them as human beings and for that he said they were very grateful.

 RCoMa members do not sleep! On 22 September 2020, I received the following report from Mme Yande Sikazwe-Mothae, current President of RCoMa: 

ROTARY REACHES OUT TO THE JUVENILES – PRESS RELEASE 

Today the Rotary Club of Maloti outdid themselves when they reached out to Juveniles who are considered to be  students at the Juveniles Training Center under Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) and donated educational  books to them. Speaking at the auspicious occasion, the president of the club Mrs Yande Sikazwe -Mothae said in  Rotary, they strongly believe in education, so much so that the month of September is themed Basic Education and  literacy month. She quoted the great Nelson Mandela when he said “Education is the most powerful weapon 

which you can use to change the world”, and she said they as Rotarians truly believe this hence why they  prioritise education. Mrs Sikazwe-Mothae mentioned that this Rotary year has been themed “Rotary opens  opportunities”, and therefore through education that they believe that opportunities can be opened. 

Mrs Sikazwe-Mothae said they in Rotary are a group of volunteers who believe in “service above self”, they use  their time and resources to help those who are less fortunate and they do this in collaboration with other  organisations throughout the world. She mentioned that for the past few years, they have received educational  books from an organisation in Australia called Books for Lesotho through Mr David Linn which they then  distributed to schools. In the past two weeks they helped launch a library in Mpharane Mohale’s Hoek called  Mpharane Community Library. Last week they donated educational books to four schools being Lithabaneng  high school, Methodist high school, Life high school and St Angela high school. Notwithstanding they felt that the  students who consist of 5 girls and 32 boys who must be catered for and should not be forgotten in society as we  still owe them a responsibility to develop them and prepare them for life after rehabilitation . She said they  strongly believe that during their rehabilitation, education will play an important part in ensuring that they are  better citizens who can contribute to the development of the country. 

In his remarks, the Commissioner of LCS Mr Majara portrayed his heartfelt gratitude towards Rotary. He said the  Juvenile Training Centre (JTC) is an institution where the Basotho children who have been in conflict with the  law are being sent to be guided and corrected properly by the staff of LCS, other members of the society and  officials from different Ministries like the department of Education . Commissioner Majara said to President  Yande that it was only a few days ago when she said they wished to donate the books from Australia that would  be used by the children so that they could develop themselves through these reading materials and today indeed  that became reality and he said he was thankful. He said it is important that education should be one of the  fundamental tools for children and they must not be discriminated as they too deserve education.  

One of the beneficiaries on behalf of all juveniles (name withheld for protection of minor child) said he thanked  everyone, especially the Rotary Club of Maloti as they felt honoured to be given the books which he said they will  use for their education. He said their teacher will make sure they use the books well for their benefit. He also  thanked the media saying through them, people will know that they too exist. He further thanked Rotary that even  though they were in a correctional facility because they wronged the community they felt loved knowing that  others regard them as human beings and for that he said they were very grateful. 

RCoMa Donates to  

Juvenile Training Centre.mp4 

 Click on the arrow to view the video. 

B4L congratulates all parties for the media coverage they secured which also included reference to the  Australian contribution from Books for Lesotho Inc. We are proud of you.

5. And Rotary (RCoMa) goes on excelling itself… On 23 September I received a message from Mme  Yande that RCoMa was that day intending to distribute books to 5 schools, Less than 4 hours later  Yande messaged, “Looks like we are now done.. All boxes distributed. Thank you again for making this  possible.” Later, “I have absolutely enjoyed being at the helm of distribution (as Rotary President). Just  seeing the happiness of the recipients is heart warming.” I think that says it all! 

THE FUTURE 

In the June 2020 Newsletter we reported the Board and volunteers had held a planning session to consider future  directions. Investigations regarding opening a branch in Sydney continue despite delays mainly due to border  closures between SA and NSW. Recent changes have removed that impediment. From Lesotho, TRC has  reported that a 2nd shipment could be handled in a given year subject to covering additional costs in Lesotho. 

After reading of these fantastic success stories, Books for Lesotho invites YOUR DONATION! 

B4L started the 2020/21 financial year confident that funds will be raised to cover the shipping costs of another  11 pallets of books for our current two in-country partners, Rotary Club of Maloti and Transformation Resource  Centre. We look forward to your continued support. Thank you… 

David Linn 

Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

p.s. I expected this newsletter to be 2 pages, but obviously events have overtaken me. So, if you have reached  this point and enjoyed reding of the successes, it will have been worth the effort. Ahead for you are the detailed  reports from Mr Mothae Moletsane, and Mrs Teboho Lesei …please read on. David 

MPHARANE COMMUNITY LIBRARY LAUNCHED WITH JUBILATIONS The official launching of Mpharane Community  library was a dream come true for Mpharane Community. The place is located in the remote rural Southern district of  Mohale’s Hoekin Lesotho, at the foothills of Thaba-Putsoa mountains range. The Mpharane Community described the  opening of the library in their area as a long-awaited dream and enormous milestone that made history. The books were  donated by Books for Lesotho (B4L) in Australia and Rotary Club of Maloti in Lesotho facilitated the official launch and  opening of the community library. The community named the Library “Leseli (Light) of Mpharane Community Library,  after the launch. The donated books range from Grade 7 to Lower Secondary level books, Pre-school to Grade 6 level,  Upper secondary to Adult level “Fiction”, Upper Secondary to Adult level “non-fiction”, Upper Secondary to Adult level  mixed “fiction” and “non-fiction” and Adult level “fiction” books. The Library will also provide the following services to  the local communities; photo-copying and printing, Wi-Fi internet connections. Besides the donated books, some  reading materials at library will include among others; local newspapers, magazines, government gazettes, hazards,  special reports, documentaries and archives. Speaking on behalf the Mpharane Community, the Principal Chief of  PontŠeng, Mrs ‘Mamohale Mohale expressed her deepest appreciations on behalf the community for the donated  books, saying the opening of the library in the Mpharane area is the greatest development for the coming generations.  She encouraged the community to adopt the culture of reading as that will assist them to acquire knowledge and skills.  Principal Chief Mohale appealed to the community of Mpharane to always protect their library facility, which is the first  of its kind the district. Addressing the community during the launching ceremony, the President of the Rotary Club of  Maloti Mrs Yande Mothae encouraged the community of Mpharane to use the library wisely in order to better  themselves, she said the children, the elderly, the young, the youth and all of them were accommodated for in the  library. Mrs Mothae also said the theme of September is basic education and literacy while the Rotary theme for this  year is “Rotary opens Opportunities”. She said they are opening the opportunities through that community library. She  also said the reading and learning that will be made in that community library will be all in a bit to open opportunities for  the community. She also passed her special thanks to Mr. Mothae Moletsane for facilitating the opening of the library  and further urged the community to take care of the library even for future generations. She acknowledged the partners  in Australia, Books for Lesotho who donated the books which were donated to Mpharane and will also be donated to  other schools. The Chairperson of Thaba-Mokhele Community Council in Mpharane, Mr Mahlatsi Makakole said the  community library in the area will shed light to the entire community and opens more opportunities. She encouraged  everyone to use the library prudently. Speaking at the same occasion, one of the teacher who is also a beneficiary of  Books for Lesotho project in schools through Transformation Resource Centre, Mr Lelingoana Moroke, Headmaster at  Mt Carmel High School said the donated books from B4L assisted their learners to perform better and excel in their final  examinations in the past five years. “The books played a pivotal role in our school. Our school used to be at the bottom  amongst all schools in the district, but after we received books from “Books for Lesotho”, we managed to snatch highest  position ranging from position 2, and this year we were expecting position 1 if it was not because of inconvenience  caused by Covid-19 Speaking at the same launch, the District Governor for Rotary Club of Maloti, Ms Maud Boikanyo  explained that rotary is an organization where volunteers give back to the community. She said since its establishment in  Lesotho, Rotary has done many projects for the communities throughout the country. She further explained that in  Lesotho their focus is on water and sanitation, economic and community development, maternal and child health,  supporting the environment, basic education and literacy, disease prevention and treatment and peace and  prevention/resolution. The District Governor therefore urged the Mpharane community to take care of the library and  treasure this donation. In the Rotary, the month of September is the Basic Education and Literacy month, therefore the  launch of the Mpharane Community Library came at the opportune time when Rotarians all over the world are  promoting basic education and literacy because Rotarians strongly believe that a happy educated child creates a wiser  happy world to live in. In the same event, the Ministry of Education District Resource Teacher, Mrs Kekeletso Kotelo said 

Mpharane community library is the first of its kind in the district, and she encouraged the community and youth to use  the library to improve their lives and results at schools. Mrs Kotelo said that her Ministry is proud of the launch of the  library in the Mpharane area as that will assist learners to perform well in their results despite difficult time of COVID – 19. The Founder and Manager of Mpharane Community Library, Mr Mothae Moletsane expressed his gratitude and  heartfelt appreciation and thanks to Books for Lesotho and Rotary Club of Maloti for making sure that the books get to  the library in good order. He said they have hope that the library will bring a bright future to the community of  Mpharane and encouraged his community members to use the library accordingly. Mr Moletsane also encouraged the  community and learners from different schools in the area to form reading clubs so as to motivate each other and  develop more reading skills and culture. The launch of the library was also supported by Lesotho Bakery through Blue  Ribbon Company with Bread and also as a contribution on food crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic.  

CHALLENGES Some of the challenges facing Mpharane Community Library are, but not limited to; firstly, lack of desktop  computer to store and record books and all reading materials on the database; secondly, lack of electricity connection in  the area and solar energy system; thirdly, the stipend to give to Librarian volunteer on monthly basis and refresher  trainings for volunteer to be familiar on how to reference and use softwares that can record books in the library. Mr Mothae Moletsane 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Report received on 28/09/2020 

Report from Rotary Club of Maloti on the books donated in 2020

The books arrived on the 31st August . there were 60 boxes.  

Five boxes were distributed to Mpharane community Library. On the 11th September MRC  

distributed 5 boxes given to the Mpharane  

16th September 6 boxes for each school were distributed to the following schools: 

• St Angela school of the handicapped 

• Lithabaneng high school 

• Metholist High school 

• Life high school received 7 

22nd September 

• The juvenile correction school received 6 boxes. This is a school for young people who have committed crime  who are under correctional services and are being rehabiliated  

23rd September 

The following schools received 5 boxes each: 

• ‘Malithuso high school 

• St Steven’s high school 

• Semonkong high school 

• Silioe high school 

• Ant pre-school received 4 boxes 

The Rotary Club of Maluti is very proud and happy with the partnership and wants to thank Books for Lesotho on behalf  of the recipients. 

Yours In Rotary, Immediate Past President 

Mrs Teboho Lesei

Newsletter #18, June 2020

The Good News4 Items

  1. The 3rd shipment of books to Rotary Club of Maloti in Lesotho was despatched on 24 June 2020. It comprised 9,114 books on 4 pallets with a transport cost to the Lesotho boarder of AUD3,577.23 Over 182,000 books have been shipped to Lesotho at a cost of AUD68,426.
  2. Recently the Springbank Secondary College was given a reprieve from closure, which also means that Books for Lesotho does not have to find a new operating location. Naturally we are pleased for ourselves, but also for all the parties that use the school buildings and its grounds. We wish the school well (as our position hangs on such success) as it continues to serve the community. (B4L made a submission to the official enquiry.)
  3. Budget vs income:
    The 2019/20 budget was AUD13,604 while donations totalled AUD10,508. This was a credible result considering all the competing scenarios in the world at present. The deficit is covered by an earlier generous donation from Lang Foundation which the Board has kept in reserve.
    Through regular giving, Mitcham Exercise Group donated AUD1,072.05 compared with AUD1,168 in 2018-19 – which is amazing considering the length of time the group has not been active due to COVID-19 restrictions.
    An additional AUD1,510 was donated to allow B4L to be a sponsor of African Library Congress Summit held in Lesotho during March.
  4. The Barn has been operating at full swing since re-opening on 29 April with volunteers keen to be useful again while taking precautions against the virus. Deliveries have continued over the period, but at a much reduced rate – books are now needed!!

THE FUTURE

The Board and volunteers recently held a planning session to consider future directions. The meeting concluded that an offer to open what would be a branch of B4L in Sydney would be explored. This opportunity has arisen due a Sydney-based person showing keen interest in the project. We know the need exists in Lesotho for more library books in schools, but any increase in annual quantity must be matched by in-country capacity to handle. This aspect is currently being investigated.

YOUR DONATION, PLEASE!

B4L receives “donations in kind”. One very generous contributor is Chris McEvoy in Melbourne who provides the fabulous cartons for our packers to use. As this newsletter is being written another shipment of cartons is on its way along with books that have been donated by schools in Melbourne. Thank you, Chris.

B4L starts another financial year confident that funds will be raised to cover the shipping costs of another 11 pallets of books for our current two in-country partners, Rotary Club of Maloti and Transformation Resource Centre. We look forward to your continued support.

Click here to make a donation.

YOUR DONATIONS AT WORK

Here are some more images from the March 2020 visit to Lesotho. The top 4 are from a school supplied with books by African Library Project; the lower 5 images are from 2 schools supported by Transformation Resource Centre with books from B4L and including Me’ Nthatuoa Mohapi, the TRC Library Officer:

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #17, March 2020

THE BARN HAS CLOSED FOR A COVID-19 BREAK – we will reopen ASAP! If you are in South Australia and have books to donate, please contact David on 0418 877 112

YOUR DONATION, PLEASE!

B4L is struggling, like most charities, to raise funds following other recent appeals such as for bushfire victims and now the effects of COVID-19. As you will see below, Lesotho has a great need for our library books and what you have sent are being used in many schools to effect significant changes in children. However, we need $13,604 by 30 June 2020 to meet this year’s costs. Donations to date = $8,100

To help B4L raise $5,500 in less than 2.5 months make a tax-deductable donation on this website

Thank you Lions Club of Blackwood and Rotary Club of St Peters;
both made significant donations in response to a recent appeal to local service clubs.

VISIT TO LESOTHO – MARCH 2020

Founders of B4L, David and Liz Linn (we) visited Lesotho just prior to the COVID-19 shut down but catching the 14-day isolation period on return. We report that the trip was very important to the development of B4L for 3 main reasons; 2 related to our regular partners, Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) and Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMa) while third was the Summit by African Library Project (ALP).

Meeting with the originator of the book project: We met with ‘Me Mosa Muso who, as the then librarian at TRC, conceived the idea on which B4L has built, was a lovely event. Mosa (left) lives with her husband in Welcom in South Africa.

Meeting with TRC and subsequent visit to 2 schools: History repeating; when we arrived at TRC in 2008 we found the first shipment in the TRC foyer. This time the latest shipment of 105 boxes of books was prominently standing in the foyer and awaiting distribution to schools .

In the past few months there have been staff changes at TRC (although key people have only changed positions) so the meeting provide an opportunity to bring us all up-to-date. TRC remains committed to distributing the annual shipment, but increasing budget pressure means that the schools are in more populated and accessible areas rather than the remote mountain areas. The latter can only be serviced if more funds are available. Ongoing support to schools and auditing of use of the book resources are also limited due to the lack of funds.

Together with the 3 key members of TRC staff, we visited 2 schools in metropolitan Maseru

The Maseru LECS PS library has good shelving in a dedicated room with tables and chairs. The library looks well-stocked, but the school has had only one B4L shipment. The next B4L/TRC donation will transform the library. Books are set out on shelves in the same way B4L packed them at The Barn. The timetable for use of the library is shown below right.

Mabathoane Secondary School has a huge light-filled library. It has lots of books on strong shelving and is well-furnished with large tables and many chairs. Books are catalogued using the Dewey System. With 2 staff managing the library, and programmed use of the library, students are benefitting. Many of the books showed publishing dates from yesteryear; staff stated books will be discarded as new ones arrive. Therefore they were eagerly awaiting their share of the books currently sitting in the TRC foyer.

Meeting with RCoMa: It was a pleasure to meet with Rotary members who are key contacts in the supply of books to their community service projects and nearby schools. As with all Rotarians, they are dedicated to their community. The meeting consolidated the relationship and provided an opportunity to discuss future actions, including co-operation between the various groups donating books for school libraries in Lesotho.

The images below show the working group meeting at Kick-4-Life which provides excellent accommodation with its profits supporting soccer development. The soccer pitch is right there!

Attendance at African Library Project (ALP) Summit and related visits to 4 schools in and around Maseru: The prime reason we travelled to Lesotho at this time (was it “essential travel”?) was to attend the ALP Summit held at Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village about 30 minutes drive from Maseru CBD and situated below Thaba-Bosiu (means: mountain at night) – a National Monument.

As you will see from the African Library Project website, and the Lesotho Facebook page, ALP is an amazing organisation. Here the 2 Founders of B4L met the Founder of ALP, Chris Bradshaw, and learned that ALP was founded at about the same time as B4L started. The development of ALP is amazing; over 3,000,000 books to over 3,000 school libraries (about 1,000 to 1,500 books in each) in 12 African countries.

The African Library Project motto speaks to anyone establishing libraries: Changing Lives, Book by Book.

The original programme for the Summit over 5 days was modified when COVID-19 prevented all but one delegate from participating African countries outside of Lesotho were forced to cancel, as did some people due to come from USA. The revised programme concentrated on ALP operations in Lesotho with a strong focus on future co-operation between the various entities trying to achieve the same result in Lesotho, including B4L and its partners TRC and RCoMa. The programme included more than 80 teacher-librarians joining for 2 days of seminar sessions and in-school work on how to establish a library. ALP representatives and volunteers worked very, very hard to achieve a highly successful Summit out of a sea of challenges.

Through a special appeal to B4L donors, sufficient funds were raised to allow B4L to sponsor the cost of catering for the teacher-librarians over the 2 days.

We trust we represented B4L well in this international forum, but we can confess to not doing too well when delegates were, as part of a cultural evening, invited to present something that represented their country (how does one depict meat pies, AFL, flies, vegemite, koalas, etc., and an “easy-going’ multicultural society?). We did try to sing, “We are one, but we are many…”

From the report we made to B4L Board, the standouts were:

  • The presence of the founders of 2 long-standing organisations both sending books used to establish libraries in schools in Lesotho
  • The spirit in which we were welcomed
  • One theme was, “Teamwork makes the Dream work”
  • Sharing between the many parties represented with everyone trying to make the Summit worthwhile (which in our view was achieved), learning from each other (also achieved), fostering cooperation between the parties (developed further over the days) and working to improve in-school care and use of libraries (an on- going task)
  • Visits to schools to view the different standards of libraries, the rooms (spaces) in which the libraries exist, the effort made by many teachers and schools to make the best of their library resource, the various methods schools have used to make shelving
  • Visits to schools that highlighted the inadequacy in most cases of spaces used as a library, shelving, desks and seats to allow students to read in comfort let alone heating/cooling, for teacher training and dedication to a library, and a larger inventory of books
  • Visit to school highlighted the reading ability of students selected to read to the visiting party. Some were able to read a book fluently, and with no inhibitions
  • Being joined for 2 days by some 80+ teacher-librarians from Lesotho schools
  • Sorting the un-loaded shipping container of boxes of books into the many schools assigned to receive them – joining some 40 people in a confined space to achieve this huge task in about 2 hours was amazing. We are pleased that B4L handles more manageable standard-sized boxes on pallets, and not by the container load!
  • The Thursday evening dinner and “cultural celebration”. Yes, there was an attempt at an Australian presentation (what does one do to “represent” our culture?) which was nothing compared with any African offering. I won’t comment on the US effort other than to say they had a lot of people joining in! For all that, Oz and USA have great bonds of friendship) It was an hilarious and memorable evening
  • Linking with key people for future developments, and linking them with the B4L partners.

ALP worked hard to make an impact in the community during the Summit, including media coverage. One newspaper report is reproduced at bottom of this newsletter

We found books in this amazing library (LithabanengPS) from 3 donors, including Books for Lesotho

Last school visited as part of the ALP Summit was Tikoe Primary School :

Conclusion from the ALP Summit: This was time well spent in meeting others especially people from Lesotho, learning that B4L and its partners do not work in Lesotho alone, that we share common objectives and the same problems, and that most of the books that are delivered are welcomed, highly prized and put to very good use.

Conclusion from our visit to Lesotho: This was a very timely visit in many ways; meeting the B4L partners, TRC and RCoMa, attending the ALP Summit, visiting schools with TRC and ALP, unpacking the ALP container of boxes of books, meeting (as we always seem to do) amazing local people who are doing everything they can to better themselves and the people of Lesotho and usually both of these at the same time. Providing books to establish libraries in schools, institutions and communities continues to be a way in which Australia can support them and the students who will follow with the same ideals – ideals which we hope to see become reality for each person. Thank you for your support of the wonderful project – now in its 14th year and packing the 17th shipment.

David Linn, Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #16, December 2019

Our Reason for Existence

The 16nd shipment of books (7 pallets) to Lesotho since 2007 was completed on 4th December 2019 ready for shipping from The Barn very soon – booked for 11th December. It is the 14th shipment to Transformation Resource Centre (TRC). 17,343 books will be distributed by TRC early in 2020 to about 40 schools and youth institutions. The number of books is a record for a 7-pallet shipment!

The Directors and Volunteers of Books for Lesotho thank all the donors for giving us the task of sorting and packing your books. They will end up in schools that otherwise have no (or very little) library resource.

2019/20 FINANCING

B4L is now seeking $13,604 by way of donations to cover shipment costs during 2019/20. To 30 November, general donations totalled $4,350 ($4.928 at the same time last year). This includes the regular donations from members of the Mitcham Exercise Group totalling $484 ($550 last year).

YOU can make a difference by making a one-off donation or by setting up a monthly-giving plan (this method helps us with budgeting). Please donate via GiveNow by clicking on the website – it takes you to a secure on-line donation system which has a very low cost to us.

Monetary donations are only used to cover shipping costs from Australia to Lesotho; we do not purchase books.

How has your contribution helped B4L achieve the B4L aims?

Total books shipped to 30 June 2019

The number of books sent in 15 shipments to Lesotho since inception in 2007 is 155,932 being loaded on 74 pallets and at a shipping cost of $58,687 (excludes “running costs”).

(Graphs not updated to include the 2019 TRC shipment described above.)

A VOLUNTEER SPEAKS…

I am a teacher who has always enjoyed learning and helping young people to learn. Much of that learning has been by reading, often guided for a specific learning experience but nothing beats the freedom of choosing a book out of interest and for pleasure (as I now enjoy in retirement).

It is the purpose of Books for Lesotho to provide a range of books for school libraries in Lesotho so that students can choose books which are of interest to them, and thereby enhance their capacity to learn.

A few years back my wife Bev and I chatted with good friends David and Liz about their wish to assist a librarian in Lesotho who had a dream of setting up libraries in local schools that had limited resources. We happily offered a little time to help them sort and pack in their garage the books they had managed to source.

It is wonderful to now see the scope of their operation as an incorporated body. Thanks to the many schools and organisations and the people in them for continuing to provide good quality fiction and non-fiction books of interest to children of school age, and for the money that helps to send them. The children in Lesotho and their teachers are most grateful. I like that David and Liz have several times visited schools in Lesotho and seen the distribution of books in practice.

Brian is centre-right with other volunteers, Rob, Liz and Ray

MORAL SUPPORT FROM OUR POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES……

During October, Nat Cooke, State Member for Hurtle Vale visited The Barn in support of the volunteers (the current number of volunteers is 9). Like other visitors, Nat was very interested in the efficient process – from receiving the books through to despatch to Lesotho.

Nat Cooke MP and 7 B4L volunteers

My job these days is to arrange books in groups of similar size for ready packing in boxes by experienced master packer Ray! In doing so I do a cross check on the quality and suitability of the previously sorted books for the intended age group. Much of the fun is working and chatting with colleagues for a meaningful purpose.

Brian Webber

Also, during October, we received this letter from Nicolle Flint MP, Federal Member for Boothby

Dear David.
I am writing to congratulate you and your volunteers on the extraordinary shipment of 4 pallets of books to Lesotho in recent months. [The shipment was to the Rotary Club of Maloti.]
You should be most proud of your achievements is 2019. I understand that you received several large donations from local schools, giving a big boost to your supplies, and enabling you to continue your wonderful work within our community.
I feel very proud to have such inspiring residents in our community. I thank you for your ongoing contributions and service.
I wish you all the very best in the year to come, and look forward to reading an update in your next newsletter.
Yours sincerely
Nicolle Flint MP

Keeping in the theme, Carolyn Power MP, State Member for Elder has her diary ready to book a visit early in 2020.

NEWS FROM THE BOARD and AGM – meetings held during November 2019

At the AGM, 3 retiring members of the Board were re-elected for 2-year terms. At the following meeting of the Board, David Linn was re-elected as Chairman and Wayne Turner as Treasurer.

THE BARN IS CLOSING FOR A BREAK

Last day for 2019 – 13 December.
Re-opening – 22 January 2020 when we will be into packing for the Rotary Club of Maloti

Merry Christmas to you all – where ever you are in the world! May 2020 treat you well. Good reading!

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho

Newsletter #15, September 2019

GOOD NEWS

The 2nd shipment of 4 pallets (11,087 books) destined for community and school projects conducted by the Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMa) left our base at The Barn on 24th of May (image on the left).

The shipment of books arrived in Lesotho in early July2019. About that time I received the following email from a member of the Club, Ntate Victor Lechesa, who was overseeing the book project when the 1st shipment arrived.

He wrote:

Dear David
Many thanks indeed for the very informative newsletter with exciting and encouraging information. We are looking forward to receiving the shipment and to proceed with the distribution and promise to do our best at all times to enhance the cooperation between our two organizations in the daunting task of providing service above self.
Best regards
Victor Lechesa

WHICH LEADS INTO AN UPDATE ON THE 2018/19 FINANCIAL RESULT – more good news! 

We reported in the last newsletter that the Board approved sending the full shipment to the RCoMa even though a deficit was in sight. However, due to some wonderful extra donations we can report that a surplus has been achieved. The budget for 2018/19 was $15,029 (about 60c per book). Between 01 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, donations totalled $15,738.30, of which the Mitcham Exercise Group collected $1,167.60 ($1,192.15 last year). In addition, a grant of $10,000 was received from a private organisation, the Lang Foundation. This grant provides a wonderful basis for 2019/20 operations as we do not expect the same level of “normal” donations as was received in 2018/19. Thank you to all who have made a donation. 

HOWEVER, THE 2019/20 FINANCING CONFRONTS US!!!

Equivalent of 4 pallets of books of the planned 7 destined for the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) have been packed already with shipment due by year end. Please make your tax-deductable donation ASAP to help cover the cost. (Please refer to News from the Board on the following page.) 

In Lesotho, both TRC and RCoMa have requested Lesotho Revenue Authority to allow B4L shipments to enter duty free – so far without success. Meanwhile, both organisations have advised that each will pay charges for customs clearance and any Lesotho duty – a wonderful contribution and a sign of their commitment to the project. This undertaking by TRC and RCoMa signifies an increase in the in-country commitment to the project as well as lightening the financial demand on Books for Lesotho Inc. 

 REMARKS ABOUT THE PROJECT 

Liz and I have a wonderful friend in Lesotho, Nthatuoa, who work at TRC. She recently sent this encouraging message: “The book donation celebration was wonderful. The Principal Secretary from the Department of Basic Education and Training attended and gave a speech which I found to be very interesting. We thank you again and again, you and your Team members for the large annual shipment of books.” 

Putting the needs of the people of Lesotho into an international context, I noted in a recent report from United Nations Development Program http://hdr.undp.org/en/2018-update that Lesotho is listed at 159 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index. Surely this supports the in-country view that this is a “nation-building project”. (By the way, Australia comes in at number 3 on that list.) 

SIGNIFICANT DONATION OF BOOKS DURING BOOK WEEK, AUGUST 2019 

Immanuel College and Immanuel Primary School combined during Book Week to collect books from students and staff, all to be donated to Books for Lesotho. Resource Centre staffer, Sonia Antic helped when B4L volunteers David and Elizabeth Bleby and I picked up the books which were then delivered to The Barn. They were a wonderful selection of books; thank you all. 

A VOLUNTEER SPEAKS… (A new section in the Newsletter)

I like books. I have always liked books. Friends assure me that the modern way to read is to download stories on to hand-held electronic devices, and while I can see the convenience of that, especially when you are travelling, I cannot warm to the practice. A book isn’t just a story: a book has a cover, and print, and a feel to it that the monotony of screens cannot reproduce. The exciting feel of a library, or the exquisite agony of having a voucher to buy a book in a shop, are feelings which have never left me. So I expect other people to enjoy books, and to discover other worlds through reading them. This is what I hope for Books for Lesotho. Liz told us a story about a boy from a very disadvantaged background who made unprecedented progress in his education and his career. When asked how he had managed it he said that he had read every book in the library when he was at school. I hope that the books which we select, pack and send to Lesotho will give the same opportunities to other children and that they, too, will always like books. 
Elizabeth Bleby 

NEWS FROM THE BOARD – meeting held during August 2019

  • In the past 2 years, Books for Lesotho has held discussions with representatives of African Library Project (ALP) – https://www.africanlibraryproject.org/. ALP “coordinates book drives in the USA and partners with African Schools and villages to start small libraries”. Lesotho is one of those countries. Within the project, ALP includes the training teachers in the care and use of the books in their libraries. Each year ALP holds a “summit” which assembles a limited number of delegates from each the countries involved. The next summit is being held in Lesotho in March 2020. The Board agreed to sponsor part of the budget specifically directed to the 2-day library training session for 100 Lesotho teachers – part of the summit. B4L made an extra appeal to a limited number of B4L supporters who donated sufficient funds to cover catering costs for 100 teachers (M14,000/@ 9.35 = $1,500). The support offered has been warmly welcomed by ALP.
  • The 2019/20 Budget was approved. It allows for the “normal” 11 pallets for books to be sent to Lesotho over the 12 months and assumes all in-Lesotho costs will be paid by TRC and RCoMa, as appropriate. B4L is now seeking $13,604 by way of donations in 2019/20. 
  • The Board noted that the B4L Facebook had been updated with the Website update underway. 

BOOK DONATIONS ARE NEEDED 

Books for Lesotho Inc. welcomes donations of suitable books at any time. There is an on-going need for books (fiction and non-fiction) at Years 7 to 10 levels (or ages 12 to 14) – they are always in short supply. 

Monetary donations are used to cover shipping costs from Australia to Lesotho; we do not purchase books. 

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc. 

Newsletter #14, June 2019

GOOD NEWS

The 12th shipment of books to the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) in Lesotho was celebrated at TRC at a ceremony on 23 May 2019. 16,880 books were distributed to 15 primary schools, 39 high schools, a community library and the Juvenile Training Centre in Maseru. Several boxes in the shipment were sent to community organisations needing books to support their local program including in Morija, a youth drop-in centre and an art school both in Morija and Lesotho Child Counselling Unit at Mazenod. Image left shows the boxes being unloaded at TRC.

The 2nd shipment of 4 pallets (11,087 books) destined for community and school projects conducted by the Rotary Club of Maloti left The Barn on 24th of May (image on the left).

WHICH LEADS INTO AN UPDATE ON THE 2018/19FINANCIAL POSITION – with more good news!

We reported in the last newsletter that the Board approved sending the full shipment to the Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMa) even though a deficit was in sight. However, due to some wonderful extra donations we can report that a surplus has been achieved. The budget for 2018/19 was $15,029 (about 60c per book). Between 01 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, donations totalled $15,738.30 of which, the Mitcham Exercise Group collected $1,167.60 ($1,192.15 last year). In addition, a grant of $10,000 was received from a private organisation, the Lang Foundation. This grant provides a wonderful basis for 2019/20 operations as we do not expect the same level of “normal” donations as was experienced in 2018/19.

Thank you to all who have made a donation this financial year.

In Lesotho, both TRC and RCoMa have requested Lesotho Revenue Authority allow B4L shipments to enter duty free – so far without success. Meanwhile, both organisations have advised that each will pay charges for customs clearance and any Lesotho duty – a wonderful contribution and a sign of their commitment to the project. This undertaking by TRC and RCoMa signifies an increase in the in-country commitment to the project as well as lightening the financial load on Books for Lesotho Inc..

REMARKS ABOUT THE PROJECT

David and Liz have a wonderful friend in Lesotho, Nthatuoa, who happens to work at TRC. She recently sent this encouraging message: “The book donation celebration was wonderful. The Principal Secretary from the Department of Basic Education and Training attended and gave a speech which I found to be very interesting. We thank you again and again, you and your Team members for the large annual shipment of books.”

Putting the needs of the people of Lesotho into an international context, I noted in a recent report from United Nations Development Program (http://hdr.undp.org/en/2018-update) that Lesotho is listed at 159 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index. Surely this supports the in-country view that this is a “nation-buildingproject”. (By the way, Australia comes in at number 3.)

NEWS FROM THE BARN

The Barn operates with 8 volunteers each Wednesday morning, although with holidays, house moving and the odd illness that “oldies” seem to attract, and toadd the endless lunches and morning teas that some of our number give as an excuse to be absent, we are sometimes down to 3!

We had help for 2 sessions from Nadia Clancy, who was at the time the Labor candidate for Boothby. The image shows Nadia sorting books at The Barn with regular volunteer Jill Read. We hope we will see Nadia again.

NEWS FROM THE BOARD

At the May meeting of the Board, Meg Coupland resigned due to a family issue. The Board accepted the resignation with great regret. At the same meeting, Caillan Williams was co-opted to fill the vacant position. We welcome Caillan to the Board.

BOOK DONATIONS ARE NEEDED

Books for Lesotho Inc. welcomes donations of suitable books at any time. There is an on-going need for books (fiction and non-fiction) at Year 7 to Year 10 level (or ages 12 to 14) – they continue to be in short supply.

Monetary donations are used to cover shipping costs from Australia to Lesotho; we do not purchase books.

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.