Our exciting last day

It was an early morning yesterday in order to make it to Ekunzemulunda in time for the start of the school day to finish off the library. Sadly, this is our last day!

We had such a fantastic timlast day 1e interacting with the learners; we read to them, and them to us. Their excitement as we showed a grade 6 class some of their new books was infectious, and we can’t wait for the school to benefit from the books.

A particular favourite moment was making a cardboard dinosaur and puzzle with the class. The dinosaur came with little instruction and we spent a long time puzzling over the various parts! However the end result was an excellent T-rex and definitely worthwhile.

After lunch, we headed to Ebendle to install a similar library system and bring books. The operation was going smoothly when disaster struck! A bracket off one of the shelves fell off the wall and over 100 fiction books arranged in alphabetical order cascaded onto the floor, undoing oulast day 2r previous work. We discoered that the 2 shelves that had been previously installed were rotten, and instead had to use the shelves that Proph had installed and we improvised using 2 low tables as further shelves.

We had a great time visiting some of the grades in their classrooms, reading Hairlast day 4y Mclairy (Bella’s favourite) and taking selfies with everyone.

We had the pleasure of meeting Dr Devan Singh from the KwaZulu-natal Department of Education, and we thank him for his time and generous offer to install Microsoft Office packages ilast day 4n the 10 laptops we donated to Ramlakan. We are so excited that we have taken a step forwards with the laptops and that they can be incorporated further into the learners’ curriculum.



Future Library: Our dream

Our dream when we first set out almost 2 years ago was to build a standalone library, where the whole community would benefit. We can now say that the project is officially underway!

Today we visited a potential site, next to the Tribal Court in Macambini and opposite an existing community centre and football field. This is incredibly advantageous as the site is in the centre of the community. However the site was more than we could have imagined. There is already an existing derelict building, which was abandoned midway through construction which we can absorb into our design. The building needs a bit of fixing up; paint, electricity, flooring, shelving and furniture, but the former is much less expensive than building a whole new structure.

Even better than the preexisting building, we were privileged with a visit from the tribal chief to inquire about the site and obtain his permission to build on the site. The Chief was enthusiastic about education and commented that he wants his people to improve their english and the children can use the resources to complete the research component of their curriculum. He has also agreed that we could use the communities electricity source, and the site will be secured as soon as possible.

We are incredibly grateful to the Chief, and cannot express how excited we are to begin the project!

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The main aim of today was to bring half of the 15 boxes of books to Ekunzemalunda Primary School in Macambini. Ekunzemalunda has approximately 350 learners and virtually no reading resources.

We spent a large bulk of time organising the books to forma  similar library system to the one we set up in Ramlakan. Our system is advantageous because it allows us to inventory all the books in the library, organise them into categories using colours and with the fiction, in alphabetical order. As the schools receive more books, they can easily add the new additions into the book log.

EkunzeIMG_1755malunda received approximately 450 high quality fiction books and 200 non-fiction. There were so many books that we had trouble sorting them all in just one day, and will continue this process tomorrow. Helping us set up the system was the teacher who would be responsible for the library when we leave and Sean gave up his valuable time to put up shelves, for which we are very grateful for.

The school does not have it’s own stand alone library building, so we set up shelving in the schools admin office. The books will be taken from the library to the classrooms during the day for lessons, but to ensure that they all return safely, the books will not leave the school. This is slightly different to Ramlakan, where the books do not leave the library, but still a model that ensures security of the books.

It was so lovely to interact with the teachers and we even made a friend by the end of the day! We are hugely grateful to the Principal for so generously welcoming us into his beautiful school.

Fantastic Mr Fox and etc…

St Christopher’s primary school: We took the opportunity to leVersion 2arn further details about the Red Cap foundation which St Christopher’s is a part of.

Under this they benefit from a large amount of learning materials and extra tuition in drama, art, music and dance, which is otherwise not included in the curriculum. A particular interest of ours was their tablets project, other technology and storage of their collection of books.
The book storage units were designed by
he foundation and are not only mobile but also secure. The foundation maintains the schools’ large collection of computers and ensures that they are used to their maximum potential through learning schemes via Youtube. One of the main roles of thIMG_1681e foundation has been bringing a tablet scheme; providing the tablets, learning software and means
of secure storage.

The software on the tablets is transferable onto the laptops we brought to Ramlakan last year, therefore our next step at Ramlakan is to find a means of securing the soft
ware for their use. We also found the storage boxes that the tablets were housed in particularly innovative. The foundation has designed and manufactured the boxes themselves so that they are light and therefore able to be moved from classroom to classroom. They are also fitted with charging cables so each tablet can be charged overnight. We hope to be able to transfer this design to sIMG_1708ome-thing we can store the laptops in
at Ramlakan.

A particular joy for us was to visit a grade 7 class and read Fantastic Mr Fox with them! It was amazing for us to interact with the children on such a whistle-stop visit!
We returned to our beloved Ramlakan primary school today to see what progress has bee
n made, and we are so proud of the was Ms Kaunda has taken such good care of the library and of the improvements in the learners’ literacy skills.

We were treated to an incredible showcase of poems and reading from Grade R all the way to Grade 7, and their skills blew us away.

We are very excited that a teacher at Ramlakan has undertaken a librarian-training course and is now taking a lead role in organizing the library. Ramlakan has also started to secure a few books from the local Municipal, now that they have the facility for them.IMG_1718

We would like to say a massive thank you to Ms. Kaunda for her hospitality, and we hope to visit you again soon!


Now we look forward to starting our project Macambeni; to build a library-cum-community centre in the next 2 years. Jump-starting this, we had the pleasure of speaking to Nkonzo Mhlongo who works in building up the infrastructure in local rural communities. We are looking forward to collaborating with her in bringing materials in the form of books to this area.

(Thankfully the 500kg of books we brought with us have been cleared from customs as of this morning!)

Back again!

We arrived in Durban earlier today and are super excited to get started on everything that we have planned.
This visit is focusing on spreading and introducing the project to more schools with the intent to create a longstanding friendship of support. If all goes to plan, we could be looking at building a community centre/library in 2017 between Ebendle Primary School and Enkunzemulunga Primary School. For this we will bestarting a large fundraising campaign in the near future.

We are visiting St Christopher’s primary school, who have a collection of tablet . The software for these tablets, and other supportive initiatives like sports teams and extracurricular activities, is provided by the MRP foundation, whose model we hope to learn lots from.

We also hope to return to the lovely Ramlakan Primary school to bring further books and find out how the library is functioning a year on.

We have arrived with 15 boxes of books! The main bulk of these will go towards Ebendle and Enkunzemelunga, who do not have a prebuilt library, so our first step will be providing the books a home for the short term. This will either be in secure shelving in teachers offices or a mobile ‘library box’, which will allow the learners to use the books even though they lack the facility to house them. The next step would be to house the books from both schools in a shared community library.

We are very excited and looking forwards to the next couple of days…