The 2nd shipment of 4 pallets (11,087 books) destined for community and school projects conducted by the Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMa) left our base at The Barn on 24th of May (image on the left).
The shipment of books arrived in Lesotho in early July2019. About that time I received the following email from a member of the Club, Ntate Victor Lechesa, who was overseeing the book project when the 1st shipment arrived.
Many thanks indeed for the very informative newsletter with exciting and encouraging information. We are looking forward to receiving the shipment and to proceed with the distribution and promise to do our best at all times to enhance the cooperation between our two organizations in the daunting task of providing service above self.
WHICH LEADS INTO AN UPDATE ON THE 2018/19 FINANCIAL RESULT – more good news!
We reported in the last newsletter that the Board approved sending the full shipment to the RCoMa even though a deficit was in sight. However, due to some wonderful extra donations we can report that a surplus has been achieved. The budget for 2018/19 was $15,029 (about 60c per book). Between 01 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, donations totalled $15,738.30, of which the Mitcham Exercise Group collected $1,167.60 ($1,192.15 last year). In addition, a grant of $10,000 was received from a private organisation, the Lang Foundation. This grant provides a wonderful basis for 2019/20 operations as we do not expect the same level of “normal” donations as was received in 2018/19. Thank you to all who have made a donation.
HOWEVER, THE 2019/20 FINANCING CONFRONTS US!!!
Equivalent of 4 pallets of books of the planned 7 destined for the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) have been packed already with shipment due by year end. Please make your tax-deductable donation ASAP to help cover the cost. (Please refer to News from the Board on the following page.)
In Lesotho, both TRC and RCoMa have requested Lesotho Revenue Authority to allow B4L shipments to enter duty free – so far without success. Meanwhile, both organisations have advised that each will pay charges for customs clearance and any Lesotho duty – a wonderful contribution and a sign of their commitment to the project. This undertaking by TRC and RCoMa signifies an increase in the in-country commitment to the project as well as lightening the financial demand on Books for Lesotho Inc.
REMARKS ABOUT THE PROJECT
Liz and I have a wonderful friend in Lesotho, Nthatuoa, who work at TRC. She recently sent this encouraging message: “The book donation celebration was wonderful. The Principal Secretary from the Department of Basic Education and Training attended and gave a speech which I found to be very interesting. We thank you again and again, you and your Team members for the large annual shipment of books.”
Putting the needs of the people of Lesotho into an international context, I noted in a recent report from United Nations Development Program http://hdr.undp.org/en/2018-update that Lesotho is listed at 159 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index. Surely this supports the in-country view that this is a “nation-building project”. (By the way, Australia comes in at number 3 on that list.)
SIGNIFICANT DONATION OF BOOKS DURING BOOK WEEK, AUGUST 2019
Immanuel College and Immanuel Primary School combined during Book Week to collect books from students and staff, all to be donated to Books for Lesotho. Resource Centre staffer, Sonia Antic helped when B4L volunteers David and Elizabeth Bleby and I picked up the books which were then delivered to The Barn. They were a wonderful selection of books; thank you all.
A VOLUNTEER SPEAKS… (A new section in the Newsletter)
I like books. I have always liked books. Friends assure me that the modern way to read is to download stories on to hand-held electronic devices, and while I can see the convenience of that, especially when you are travelling, I cannot warm to the practice. A book isn’t just a story: a book has a cover, and print, and a feel to it that the monotony of screens cannot reproduce. The exciting feel of a library, or the exquisite agony of having a voucher to buy a book in a shop, are feelings which have never left me. So I expect other people to enjoy books, and to discover other worlds through reading them. This is what I hope for Books for Lesotho. Liz told us a story about a boy from a very disadvantaged background who made unprecedented progress in his education and his career. When asked how he had managed it he said that he had read every book in the library when he was at school. I hope that the books which we select, pack and send to Lesotho will give the same opportunities to other children and that they, too, will always like books.
NEWS FROM THE BOARD – meeting held during August 2019
- In the past 2 years, Books for Lesotho has held discussions with representatives of African Library Project (ALP) – https://www.africanlibraryproject.org/. ALP “coordinates book drives in the USA and partners with African Schools and villages to start small libraries”. Lesotho is one of those countries. Within the project, ALP includes the training teachers in the care and use of the books in their libraries. Each year ALP holds a “summit” which assembles a limited number of delegates from each the countries involved. The next summit is being held in Lesotho in March 2020. The Board agreed to sponsor part of the budget specifically directed to the 2-day library training session for 100 Lesotho teachers – part of the summit. B4L made an extra appeal to a limited number of B4L supporters who donated sufficient funds to cover catering costs for 100 teachers (M14,000/@ 9.35 = $1,500). The support offered has been warmly welcomed by ALP.
- The 2019/20 Budget was approved. It allows for the “normal” 11 pallets for books to be sent to Lesotho over the 12 months and assumes all in-Lesotho costs will be paid by TRC and RCoMa, as appropriate. B4L is now seeking $13,604 by way of donations in 2019/20.
- The Board noted that the B4L Facebook had been updated with the Website update underway.
BOOK DONATIONS ARE NEEDED
Books for Lesotho Inc. welcomes donations of suitable books at any time. There is an on-going need for books (fiction and non-fiction) at Years 7 to 10 levels (or ages 12 to 14) – they are always in short supply.
Monetary donations are used to cover shipping costs from Australia to Lesotho; we do not purchase books.
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.