In the UK it is often easy to take education for granted, but for many across the globe the opportunity of education isn’t one that comes around very often.
That is where Literacy in a Box comes in. When Roborough Plymouth Rotarians originally became aware of the problem of poor literacy and lack of educational resources in Zambia, they contacted Operation Sunshine, a local charity already working in Zambia, to see how they could help.
They agreed to send two boxes of educational materials on the charity’s next container to Zambia as a pilot to support schools and the Literacy in a Box Trust was born.
Since then over 800 boxes containing enough school supplies for over 16,000 children have been sent out.
Boxes contain everything from pens, pencils, exercise books and backpacks to more recreational items like skipping ropes and footballs.
One way of raising funds and awareness of the plight of children in such countries in Zambia was the charity’s Walk4Hope, and children from Hyde Park Infant School in Plymouth took part in a sponsored walk in the grounds of Buckland Abbey.
The walk, although carried out in an English climate, demonstrated the distances children in Zambia have to walk to get to school. Half way around the course the children stopped off in a barn for a typical Zambian child’s lunch of maize porridge which is the staple diet of the children.
We feel so lucky to have Literacy in a Box helping our school.”
The event raised enough money to fund three boxes but above all the children participating acquired a little understanding of life as a child in Zambia.
In Zambia one school that acts as a shining example of the difference Literacy in a Box can make is the Holy Hill Community School in Msoro, found way out in the bush of the Eastern Province of Zambia.
The school received one of the first two Literacy Boxes sent out in 2006 as a pilot and since then has received a regular supply of Literacy Boxes along with two deliveries of Zambian curriculum textbooks.
During a recent visit, half a dozen of the pupils presented poems of thanks to the Literacy in a Box team, poems that of course would never have been able to be created without the vital help and supplies which had been provided.
Manager of the school, Florence Mwayopa, commented, “Thanks to Literacy in a Box all of my pupils will be completing their primary education, which is incredible considering the average completion rate for community schools in these rural areas is around 50%.”
Grace Lutanda, a mother from Taonga Community School in Lusaka, who was another recipient of the boxes can also account first hand for the difference the project makes, as she explains, “We feel so lucky to have Literacy in a Box helping our school.”
“Most of us as parents would never to be able to provide the necessary equipment and there are also a high number of orphans here so words cannot describe how grateful we are. God bless you all.”