Thursday, August 18, 2011

Expanding students' worlds with books and computers

Since the fall of 2008, Kayemor has had a library system for borrowing books run by the first PCV in Kayemor, Kate Ballentine, and then continued by her replacement, Danielle Stoermer (ME!). The library program started with a trunk of books that Kate kept in her hut; students were allowed to come over to her hut anytime to return a book and check out a new one. As more books were donated to the program, the program was expanded so that the books were kept at the elementary school; students could return books they had read and check-out new books at designated times each month. During these times, Danielle would go to the school and assist the teachers check books in and out.

Here, lots of students are lining up to return and/or check-out books. It was always a challenge to get the students to wait in line patiently - they were all so anxious to get their new books!
As this library system grew, so did the hopes of the students, teachers and parents in Kayemor: they began dreaming of building an actual library complete with (even more) books, tables, chairs, bookshelves, and even computers, where anyone in the community could go to read books, have small group study sessions, and learn how to work on a computer. Once this dream was expressed to Danielle, she began looking into options to make it a reality.

An American NGO and a local organization that collaborates with the American Embassy in Dakar are donating some books for the library; these new books cover more topics than the first set of books in Kayemor, from science to history to philosophy to fiction, and they are primarily in French, though some are in Wolof, Arabic and English. The PCV is also working with other PCVs throughout Senegal to bring more books to Kaymor, through the Books for Africa program:

These two pictures are of two young boys in Kayemor that have not started school yet but are just as excited to look at picture books as any other child - even if the book is upside down (like the second boy's book)!! :)
In order to get computers for the library in Kayemor, the PCV is collaborating with other PCVs in Senegal to bring computers to Senegal through the World Computer Exchange. The fundraising for the computers is not yet complete, but all the PCVs are hoping it will be soon so the computers can be shipped to Dakar in September:

(The first link is better, because all the money goes straight to the project. The second link has a donate button on the side, where only 93% of the donation goes to the project.)

Check out these websites and support these programs in any way you can!


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