Books for Peace

I work in a small, rural village about an hour north of Pretoria, South Africa’s executive capital.  Despite its proximity to the financial and industrial hub of southern Africa, Reedview remains quite a poor community.  The primary and secondary school I work at lack many of the basic facilities we take for granted at schools in the United States.

Notably, both schools lack libraries.  Learners can only access information through their teachers and their textbooks.  Many even lack textbooks: my grade 7 maths learners, eighty in all, share eight textbooks.  Needless to say, learners at Tolamo Primary and Lot Mashiane Secondary struggle to complete the “research projects” mandated by the Department of Education work schedules.  At home, families typically keep two books, if that: a Setswana edition of the Bible, and a Setswana hymnal.  The remarkable access to information and knowledge afforded by rich libraries and access to the Internet, so familiar to American students and families, is completely unavailable in Reedview. 

Many in the community, both in and out of the schools, have recognized this shortcoming and have expressed a desire to found a library in the community.  Together with the secondary school I work with, Lot Mashiane, my community has applied for and been selected to participate in a library sponsorship program called Books For Peace.  The program provides 750 books on the agreement that the community identifies a volunteer to run the library and a secure building in which to house the library, as well as raises R1500 (about $200) to support the project.  Lot Mashiane Secondary School has agreed to convert one of the staffrooms for the library.  An eager young man named Adam Mothibe has agreed to run the library.

For my part, I am responsible for working with Lot Mashiane and Adam Mothibe to get our library up and running.  Additionally, I am responsible for raising about $350, a goal I must attain by June 15.  Please support my community as we strive to improve the educational opportunities for its young people.  Learn more and donate at:

https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projdetail&projdesc=674-072

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  Contributions in any amount put us closer to our goal.  If you do contribute to the program, I simply ask that you let me know so that I can keep track of my progress (and drop you a thank-you note).  With your support, Reedview can begin to connect its learners to the information we take for granted everyday.

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9 responses to “Books for Peace

  1. For those readers out there who are wondering why “vistasinthepiedmont” made this post instead of “thowellburke,” let me explain: Howell’s internet is giving him some problems, and he asked me to give him a hand. Let’s all support Howell in establishing this library!

    • Howell, hey! Somehow I missed this post! I hope you raised the money you needed. I would love to help either personally or through Westminster. I wonder if I could hook you up with a seventh grade teacher and you all could do a service project together for this library. What do you think?? I am also happy to donate.

      On another note, Donnie and I went to the Ernst and Young dinner the other night where your dad got his entrepreneur of the year award. We are so proud of him!!

      Cant wait to hear how the teaching is going. I think about you and your struggles all of the time. I hope to help with this library.
      Love, Sara

  2. I would be happy to contribute $50 to the Reedville school library. However, when I went to the web site it asked for a password which I don’t have. I am pretty computer illiterate. I would be happy to send a check, but would prefer not to use a credit card. Can you bill me? Or I could give the $$ to Howewll’s parents who I am sure can get it to him. Sandy Morehouse 110 Jeff Cook Rd, Mansfield, GA. 30055

    • Sandy – I totally missed your post. WordPress has been really buggy lately. We would definitely welcome any contributions. Sounds like it would be easiest to get the money to my parents. (I think they’re trustworthy enough.)

  3. This is great news Howell. What a gift this is to the community. I will also donate.

  4. Howell, hey! Somehow I missed this post! I hope you raised the money you needed. I would love to help either personally or through Westminster. I wonder if I could hook you up with a seventh grade teacher and you all could do a service project together for this library. What do you think??

    On another note, Donnie and I went to the Ernst and Young dinner the other night where your dad got his entrepreneur of the year award. We are so proud of him!!

    Cant wait to hear how the teaching is going. I think about you and your struggles all of the time. I hope to help with this library.
    Love, Sara

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