African Library Project

ALP Book Inspires Students' Community Activism

At the ALP Summit in Swaziland this past November, we asked teacher-librarians who had received books from ALP to compose thank-you letters to their book drive organizers. Here is a thank-you letter from Doreen Magagula (photo just below), teacher-librarian from Siteki Nazarene Primary School in Swaziland, to Jacob Ganz (below), serial bookdrive organizer from San Francisco, California.  Chris Bradshaw writes, "I spoke with Doreen [at the Summit]. She was so proud of her students' community activism, inspired by a book from their library. This kind of volunteer service is a new concept in Swaziland, just the kind of idea we love supporting through books."

Dearest Jacob,

doreen_smI write this letter to convey my sincere thanks to you for the generous gift of books sent to my school and myself as a librarian.

While I was still opening my boxes I was so deeply engrossed in reading due to the lovely and interesting books sent. I noticed that the books came in different subjects; we had literature, geography, science, etc.

I was really touched by one book among the rest which was talking about a certain poor family who had to leave their place and relocate to a city, yet still they were very poor. The children had it tough because they had to go to a new school, make new friends, and they were looked down upon and were a laughing stock to the rest.

The elder girl started making dolls using her torn dresses. She first gave one to a friend in her class. Surprisingly, the friend showed the rest of the class her gift; they were so interested!  The rest of the children went to the poor girl and asked her to make them dolls too.  They offered to pay her for the materials and the work done.  She earned a lot of money and she was able to buy new clothes and food for the family.

I shared that story with my students.  They were excited, and they told me that they won't laugh at their poor school mates but instead will try to help the needy.  So, to follow through on their good intentions, we started a club to help needy children.  We invited World Vision and Amicaall in our area.  They taught our children how to run the club. We set goals and objectives.

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The children then suggested we allow each member to pay 5 Swazi Emalangeni ($0.61 USD). We now have about 350 Emalangeni ($42.83 USD) and are planning to start a garden, raise funds, and buy food parcels and clothes for the needy.

Thank you so much for the book donation.  My students are so interested in reading now.

Yours faithfully,
Doreen H. Magagula (Teacher-Librarian)

January, 2012