July 1, 2015

Returning in August to Support Literacy!

YES!!!  Eileen and Larry are going back to A.V. Bukani Primary School mid-August– mid-September. For the first time, we will be going for an entire month. We always leave after three weeks wishing we could stay longer. So we just did it!

GREAT NEWS: Eileen was awarded the Art Berg Grant from the National Speakers Association. This $4000 grant is awarded to one technology-related project a year at a charitable organization in which an Association member is involved as an active volunteer. We are very honored our project earned the grant this year.

This grant will help increase access to the library. Although the library has become a source of great pride in this township of 15,000-20,000, availability of the books has been limited by an organizational system with no technology. This grant will be used to purchase a computer dedicated to the library and library software. Equally important, there will be funds for training and continuing IT maintenance. With these improvements, we hope the library can soon be available to the entire community.

More Resources to Support Beginning Readers

The South African Education Department recently implemented new standards and it is exciting to see the practices that are imbedded in the standards are just the things we have been working on with the teachers at Bukani – including read-alouds, use of “big books” for shared reading, and most important, guided reading, which is what Larry will be working on with the teachers when we return this year. Since the teachers have been working on these practices for several years, they have a great foundation on which to build.

Of course, so much is dependent upon resources. Who would believe that after delivering 23,000 donated books to create a library for the school, there would be the need for more! Well, there is. While the books we brought are wonderful (THANK YOU!), there is a great need for many very early reading books. That’s because the students at Bukani are learning to read in a new language and the books that are needed are very short (as few as 8 pages long). As you can imagine, once they get the hang of it, the students can zip through an 8-page book quite quickly. Hence, the need for many, many books at increasingly difficult levels for the students to read. 

You, the supporters of this project, have been so generous over the past few years. The funds have been used to create and support the library, a computer teacher for the students, and so much more. We’ve spent it all at the school.  If you feel in your hearts to make a donation now, these donations will support the purchase of these specialized very early readers -  Directions are on"How to Donate" tab.

 Larry has already ordered over 600 books from Pioneer Valley Books at a cost of nearly $3,000, including a discount from Pioneer Valley, to help the teachers with beginning reading. The recommendation for this purchase came from our daughter Sara, a literacy teacher who has come with us on two of our volunteer trips and uses these books in her work. In addition, Eileen found an on line 50% off sale for more early readers that has Larry’s mouth watering. (BTW –A donation is a great way to mark a birthday, anniversary or other celebration. We are happy to send a personal note in recognition of a special day and we are grateful to have been a part of some very special commemorations.)  

Whether you support us with a donation or with your words of encouragement, know that we appreciate it! 

The Adlebergs are Joining Us!!

One more bit of good news: Educators Randi and Steve Adleberg will join us at A.V. Bukani for two weeks this year. We are thrilled to share their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm. Both had long careers in Fairfax County Public Schools, Steve as an elementary school teacher and principal; and Randi as a middle and high school language arts teacher. We know the teachers and students at Bukani will benefit from their expertise (and we will enjoy the company of these good friends).

Eileen and Larry