Newsletter #22, June 2021

NEWSLETTER No. 22, JUNE 2021

A Great Loss to Humanity

On Wednesday 09 June 2021, I advised you all that ‘M’me Mosa Muso had died. I wrote: “She was a quiet, intelligent and caring human. I “blame” Mosa for the fact that we are here this morning at The Barn in Adelaide packing books for Lesotho – a project which Liz and I started (with, over time, huge help from lots of other people) in response to Mosa’s dream of establishing a library in every school in Lesotho. Since accepting the original challenge, Books for Lesotho has shipped books to the Transformation Resource Centre (for which Mosa was Librarian for many years) and more recently also to the Rotary Club of Maloti. It is to RCoMa that we are about to send 5 pallets of books which will bring the total number of books shipped to Lesotho to more than 210,000.”

We have since received the report: ”The funeral went so well with so many people mostly her friends from Lesotho and South Africa. But it was so emotional, many people crying. She is resting in peace.”

In my email, many of you received a very poor 3rd image, so I repeat it here – in memory of Mosa. It was taken at Welkom, South Africa, February 2020.

Now, A SURPRISE:

It was an email from Candice Page from the Friends of Springbank Secondary College:

“I recently nominated the team from Books for Lesotho, for the “Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Volunteer Service Award”. The nomination was successful, and I have received the Premier’s Certificate for presentation.

Lesotho holds many precious memories for me, and I am in awe of the fabulous work that this special team of volunteers do. They absolutely need to be celebrated.

Kind regards

Candice Page”

Wow! What good friends we have! But see later….

Then along came ANOTHER SURPRISE – on the 18th May: First, some background. The Rotary Club of St Peters runs “Rotary-on-Linde Shed” which looks to me a great place to check out https://portal.clubrunner.ca/12651 B4L receives regular donations of books from the Club usually delivered by member John Dumberley. During one delivery, John invited me to speak to the Club, which I willingly did. Liz and I were warmly welcomed and enjoyed their fellowship. I presented the B4L story in my usual way, after which I was thanked and presented with a couple of chocolates to enjoy with my coffee! Suddenly, John was beside me proffering an envelope. I read the front and my mouth dropped in dis-belief as it advised that the cheque inside was for $1,000. Wow! What good friends we have! 

Image shows: Club President, Bill Winslow with Arthur Terrell, Liz and David Linn, John Dumberley and Phil Smith.

2020/21 FINANCES: 

Donations = $12,047              Same period last year = $10,892

Expenses (estimate) = $13,973 (freight costs have just risen by 55% – this is our main expense)

Help us “Close-the -gap”… $1926 by 30 June 2021

Shows the care Rotary takes with the delivery of books
Pallet of books from Melbourne

Do you recall the report of a pallet arriving at The Barn during January loaded with empty cartons in which we pack books destined for Lesotho? Well, during April another pallet arrived from Melbourne, also courtesy of Chris McEvoy of Preschem Pty Ltd. These books are mainly from Epping Primary School. 

Here’s dedication:

Tina Berkley from Epping Primary School (refer to image above right) wrote in response to our thanks: “You are very welcome. glad we can help such a good cause. Parents have already started to donate more books”. 

WHAT’S THIS?   From another generous donor – Jurlique in Mt Barker, SA. These are second-hand plastic pallets on which B4L packs the cartons ready for shipping. Thank you Jurlique. (B4L uses plastic pallets our shipments transit in Singapore and that port does not accept wooden pallets.) 

WHAT HAPPENS? …to books that do not suit B4L partners? Where possible we “recycle” them to other book-related NGOs. Image right shows Liz and David making such a deliver during April to our friends at South Pacific School Aid (SPSA). While there, they collected a huge box of atlases in very good condition and a box of dictionaries – both of these items have been in short supply lately at B4L. Importantly they also collected a range of books to include in the shipment to Rotary Club of Maloti which are heading for the community library at Mpharane started by Ntate Mothae Moletsane (about which you have read a lot in the last 2 newsletters). What we sought was books for an adult audience which B4L does not usually have – SPSA helped to partially fill the requirement. Thank you, friends.

It’s nice to know when enough books have been delivered

To the right is Morija Guest House (you must stay there when you visit Lesotho!) It is owned by Brigitte Hall-Cathala. Brigitte also hosts a local centre for children and young people (see the Centre below the Guest House in the second image). B4L has supplied the centre with books sent via partner TRC. Here is her recent message:

“Thanks a lot for your message and the attached Newsletter. They show that your energy level is as high as ever, well done! 

I was very interested to read the full story of Books for Lesotho beginnings as told by ‘M’e Mosa, she sounds like a remarkable lady! 

I was also very glad to read that the Morija Seminary will soon receive a shipment of books, wonderful news. 

On our side, the Ha Matela Youth Centre was very happy and grateful to receive the 2 large boxes you sent in 2020. Our library is quite full now, even with the shelves we added!  So I think I should tell you not to include us in future shipments, not out of lack of gratitude but because I guess that many other centres or schools need your help while we are doing OK, at least as far as books are concerned. Unfortunately, other aspects of our work are not so positive, especially as we probably will not get any new volunteers (editor: from Europe) till 2022 so we have to find new ways of running the Centre.”

AND AN EMAIL “OUT OF THE BLUE”…. We received a message and images (showing how B4L contact details were found) during March from Thato Moleki who is a Student Assistant at Methodist High School in Maseru. He reported on the receipt of books from B4L through TRC and offered support for the project.

Thank you, Thato. We hope our books haver widened the range of books available on the school library.

WHAT’S THIS?

Do you recall the image above in the last newsletter? It was the “mysterious 8th pallet” being sent with the shipment to TRC being books suitable for the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) Morija Theological Seminary.

The books have arrived in Lesotho (see below). The interest here was so high that sufficient books were donated to fill a 2nd pallet which is due to leave The Barn before the end of June with the shipment for Rotary Club of Maloti.

As reported previously, such a shipment does not match the B4L goal of developing libraries in schools, but it did match helping people in Lesotho with reading resources. Adding to an existing shipment is not a burden to B4L. The costs must be covered by a private funds which are still needed, mainly because of the recent increase in shipping charges. I think this is an amazing result.

We now have a report from Ntate Matsobane Putsoa (both a Rotarian and a supporter of the seminary) who wrote:

“The books were handed over yesterday on 19th May. The school lecturers were very excited about the quality of the books and the renowned authors. They are convinced they are going to pass the accreditation inspection next week because of their improved library. Thank you so much Books 4 Lesotho – this from all of us – Rotarians, lecturers and students.”

Here are images of the book hand-over and a view inside the library.

LATEST NEWS 1

 I refer back to the “surprise” mentioned on page 1…. Books for Lesotho is very proud to receive the Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. and grateful to Candice for nominating us.

The B4L Board agreed to host a morning tea Wednesday 16 June at which time the certificate was presented by Carolyn Power MP with Candice joining in. Unfortunately, most of the Wednesday volunteers were off doing other things, but those of us who braved the weather had a lovely morning tea and lots of fun.

LATEST NEWS 2

Two large black plastic boxes of books have come from Narangba Valley State High School in Queensland organised by Tamara Holden in the school resource centre…

LATEST NEWS 3

The shipment of 4 pallets of books for Rotary Club of Maloti together with a (second) pallet of theology books for Morija Theological Seminary (the latter funded privately) left The Barn on 23 June 2021. The image was supplied by Hank who is one of the new volunteers needed to supplement the sorting team.

OTHER NEWS

  1. SUPPLY OF BOOKS – There continues to be a shortage of non-fiction at secondary level and fiction at lower secondary school level: can you help? Please ask at your local school, or friends or…..
  2. MITCHAM 50-AND-OVER EXERCISE GROUP – Since July 2020, donations have      totalled $719 compared with $822 for last year. Thank you.

FINANCES

Donations = $12,047              Same period last year = $10,892

Expenses (estimate) = $13,973 (freight costs have just risen by 55% – this is our main expense)

Help us “Close-the -gap”… $1926

TOO MANY WORDS?

Once again, at the start of preparing the Newsletter, I expected it would be a short one, but the news keeps rolling in – like the books do. 

Thank you everyone who has contributed in whatever way.

David Linn 

Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #18, June 2020

The Good News4 Items

  1. The 3rd shipment of books to Rotary Club of Maloti in Lesotho was despatched on 24 June 2020. It comprised 9,114 books on 4 pallets with a transport cost to the Lesotho boarder of AUD3,577.23 Over 182,000 books have been shipped to Lesotho at a cost of AUD68,426.
  2. Recently the Springbank Secondary College was given a reprieve from closure, which also means that Books for Lesotho does not have to find a new operating location. Naturally we are pleased for ourselves, but also for all the parties that use the school buildings and its grounds. We wish the school well (as our position hangs on such success) as it continues to serve the community. (B4L made a submission to the official enquiry.)
  3. Budget vs income:
    The 2019/20 budget was AUD13,604 while donations totalled AUD10,508. This was a credible result considering all the competing scenarios in the world at present. The deficit is covered by an earlier generous donation from Lang Foundation which the Board has kept in reserve.
    Through regular giving, Mitcham Exercise Group donated AUD1,072.05 compared with AUD1,168 in 2018-19 – which is amazing considering the length of time the group has not been active due to COVID-19 restrictions.
    An additional AUD1,510 was donated to allow B4L to be a sponsor of African Library Congress Summit held in Lesotho during March.
  4. The Barn has been operating at full swing since re-opening on 29 April with volunteers keen to be useful again while taking precautions against the virus. Deliveries have continued over the period, but at a much reduced rate – books are now needed!!

THE FUTURE

The Board and volunteers recently held a planning session to consider future directions. The meeting concluded that an offer to open what would be a branch of B4L in Sydney would be explored. This opportunity has arisen due a Sydney-based person showing keen interest in the project. We know the need exists in Lesotho for more library books in schools, but any increase in annual quantity must be matched by in-country capacity to handle. This aspect is currently being investigated.

YOUR DONATION, PLEASE!

B4L receives “donations in kind”. One very generous contributor is Chris McEvoy in Melbourne who provides the fabulous cartons for our packers to use. As this newsletter is being written another shipment of cartons is on its way along with books that have been donated by schools in Melbourne. Thank you, Chris.

B4L starts another financial year confident that funds will be raised to cover the shipping costs of another 11 pallets of books for our current two in-country partners, Rotary Club of Maloti and Transformation Resource Centre. We look forward to your continued support.

Click here to make a donation.

YOUR DONATIONS AT WORK

Here are some more images from the March 2020 visit to Lesotho. The top 4 are from a school supplied with books by African Library Project; the lower 5 images are from 2 schools supported by Transformation Resource Centre with books from B4L and including Me’ Nthatuoa Mohapi, the TRC Library Officer:

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #17, March 2020

THE BARN HAS CLOSED FOR A COVID-19 BREAK – we will reopen ASAP! If you are in South Australia and have books to donate, please contact David on 0418 877 112

YOUR DONATION, PLEASE!

B4L is struggling, like most charities, to raise funds following other recent appeals such as for bushfire victims and now the effects of COVID-19. As you will see below, Lesotho has a great need for our library books and what you have sent are being used in many schools to effect significant changes in children. However, we need $13,604 by 30 June 2020 to meet this year’s costs. Donations to date = $8,100

To help B4L raise $5,500 in less than 2.5 months make a tax-deductable donation on this website

Thank you Lions Club of Blackwood and Rotary Club of St Peters;
both made significant donations in response to a recent appeal to local service clubs.

VISIT TO LESOTHO – MARCH 2020

Founders of B4L, David and Liz Linn (we) visited Lesotho just prior to the COVID-19 shut down but catching the 14-day isolation period on return. We report that the trip was very important to the development of B4L for 3 main reasons; 2 related to our regular partners, Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) and Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMa) while third was the Summit by African Library Project (ALP).

Meeting with the originator of the book project: We met with ‘Me Mosa Muso who, as the then librarian at TRC, conceived the idea on which B4L has built, was a lovely event. Mosa (left) lives with her husband in Welcom in South Africa.

Meeting with TRC and subsequent visit to 2 schools: History repeating; when we arrived at TRC in 2008 we found the first shipment in the TRC foyer. This time the latest shipment of 105 boxes of books was prominently standing in the foyer and awaiting distribution to schools .

In the past few months there have been staff changes at TRC (although key people have only changed positions) so the meeting provide an opportunity to bring us all up-to-date. TRC remains committed to distributing the annual shipment, but increasing budget pressure means that the schools are in more populated and accessible areas rather than the remote mountain areas. The latter can only be serviced if more funds are available. Ongoing support to schools and auditing of use of the book resources are also limited due to the lack of funds.

Together with the 3 key members of TRC staff, we visited 2 schools in metropolitan Maseru

The Maseru LECS PS library has good shelving in a dedicated room with tables and chairs. The library looks well-stocked, but the school has had only one B4L shipment. The next B4L/TRC donation will transform the library. Books are set out on shelves in the same way B4L packed them at The Barn. The timetable for use of the library is shown below right.

Mabathoane Secondary School has a huge light-filled library. It has lots of books on strong shelving and is well-furnished with large tables and many chairs. Books are catalogued using the Dewey System. With 2 staff managing the library, and programmed use of the library, students are benefitting. Many of the books showed publishing dates from yesteryear; staff stated books will be discarded as new ones arrive. Therefore they were eagerly awaiting their share of the books currently sitting in the TRC foyer.

Meeting with RCoMa: It was a pleasure to meet with Rotary members who are key contacts in the supply of books to their community service projects and nearby schools. As with all Rotarians, they are dedicated to their community. The meeting consolidated the relationship and provided an opportunity to discuss future actions, including co-operation between the various groups donating books for school libraries in Lesotho.

The images below show the working group meeting at Kick-4-Life which provides excellent accommodation with its profits supporting soccer development. The soccer pitch is right there!

Attendance at African Library Project (ALP) Summit and related visits to 4 schools in and around Maseru: The prime reason we travelled to Lesotho at this time (was it “essential travel”?) was to attend the ALP Summit held at Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village about 30 minutes drive from Maseru CBD and situated below Thaba-Bosiu (means: mountain at night) – a National Monument.

As you will see from the African Library Project website, and the Lesotho Facebook page, ALP is an amazing organisation. Here the 2 Founders of B4L met the Founder of ALP, Chris Bradshaw, and learned that ALP was founded at about the same time as B4L started. The development of ALP is amazing; over 3,000,000 books to over 3,000 school libraries (about 1,000 to 1,500 books in each) in 12 African countries.

The African Library Project motto speaks to anyone establishing libraries: Changing Lives, Book by Book.

The original programme for the Summit over 5 days was modified when COVID-19 prevented all but one delegate from participating African countries outside of Lesotho were forced to cancel, as did some people due to come from USA. The revised programme concentrated on ALP operations in Lesotho with a strong focus on future co-operation between the various entities trying to achieve the same result in Lesotho, including B4L and its partners TRC and RCoMa. The programme included more than 80 teacher-librarians joining for 2 days of seminar sessions and in-school work on how to establish a library. ALP representatives and volunteers worked very, very hard to achieve a highly successful Summit out of a sea of challenges.

Through a special appeal to B4L donors, sufficient funds were raised to allow B4L to sponsor the cost of catering for the teacher-librarians over the 2 days.

We trust we represented B4L well in this international forum, but we can confess to not doing too well when delegates were, as part of a cultural evening, invited to present something that represented their country (how does one depict meat pies, AFL, flies, vegemite, koalas, etc., and an “easy-going’ multicultural society?). We did try to sing, “We are one, but we are many…”

From the report we made to B4L Board, the standouts were:

  • The presence of the founders of 2 long-standing organisations both sending books used to establish libraries in schools in Lesotho
  • The spirit in which we were welcomed
  • One theme was, “Teamwork makes the Dream work”
  • Sharing between the many parties represented with everyone trying to make the Summit worthwhile (which in our view was achieved), learning from each other (also achieved), fostering cooperation between the parties (developed further over the days) and working to improve in-school care and use of libraries (an on- going task)
  • Visits to schools to view the different standards of libraries, the rooms (spaces) in which the libraries exist, the effort made by many teachers and schools to make the best of their library resource, the various methods schools have used to make shelving
  • Visits to schools that highlighted the inadequacy in most cases of spaces used as a library, shelving, desks and seats to allow students to read in comfort let alone heating/cooling, for teacher training and dedication to a library, and a larger inventory of books
  • Visit to school highlighted the reading ability of students selected to read to the visiting party. Some were able to read a book fluently, and with no inhibitions
  • Being joined for 2 days by some 80+ teacher-librarians from Lesotho schools
  • Sorting the un-loaded shipping container of boxes of books into the many schools assigned to receive them – joining some 40 people in a confined space to achieve this huge task in about 2 hours was amazing. We are pleased that B4L handles more manageable standard-sized boxes on pallets, and not by the container load!
  • The Thursday evening dinner and “cultural celebration”. Yes, there was an attempt at an Australian presentation (what does one do to “represent” our culture?) which was nothing compared with any African offering. I won’t comment on the US effort other than to say they had a lot of people joining in! For all that, Oz and USA have great bonds of friendship) It was an hilarious and memorable evening
  • Linking with key people for future developments, and linking them with the B4L partners.

ALP worked hard to make an impact in the community during the Summit, including media coverage. One newspaper report is reproduced at bottom of this newsletter

We found books in this amazing library (LithabanengPS) from 3 donors, including Books for Lesotho

Last school visited as part of the ALP Summit was Tikoe Primary School :

Conclusion from the ALP Summit: This was time well spent in meeting others especially people from Lesotho, learning that B4L and its partners do not work in Lesotho alone, that we share common objectives and the same problems, and that most of the books that are delivered are welcomed, highly prized and put to very good use.

Conclusion from our visit to Lesotho: This was a very timely visit in many ways; meeting the B4L partners, TRC and RCoMa, attending the ALP Summit, visiting schools with TRC and ALP, unpacking the ALP container of boxes of books, meeting (as we always seem to do) amazing local people who are doing everything they can to better themselves and the people of Lesotho and usually both of these at the same time. Providing books to establish libraries in schools, institutions and communities continues to be a way in which Australia can support them and the students who will follow with the same ideals – ideals which we hope to see become reality for each person. Thank you for your support of the wonderful project – now in its 14th year and packing the 17th shipment.

David Linn, Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #16, December 2019

Our Reason for Existence

The 16nd shipment of books (7 pallets) to Lesotho since 2007 was completed on 4th December 2019 ready for shipping from The Barn very soon – booked for 11th December. It is the 14th shipment to Transformation Resource Centre (TRC). 17,343 books will be distributed by TRC early in 2020 to about 40 schools and youth institutions. The number of books is a record for a 7-pallet shipment!

The Directors and Volunteers of Books for Lesotho thank all the donors for giving us the task of sorting and packing your books. They will end up in schools that otherwise have no (or very little) library resource.

2019/20 FINANCING

B4L is now seeking $13,604 by way of donations to cover shipment costs during 2019/20. To 30 November, general donations totalled $4,350 ($4.928 at the same time last year). This includes the regular donations from members of the Mitcham Exercise Group totalling $484 ($550 last year).

YOU can make a difference by making a one-off donation or by setting up a monthly-giving plan (this method helps us with budgeting). Please donate via GiveNow by clicking on the website – it takes you to a secure on-line donation system which has a very low cost to us.

Monetary donations are only used to cover shipping costs from Australia to Lesotho; we do not purchase books.

How has your contribution helped B4L achieve the B4L aims?

Total books shipped to 30 June 2019

The number of books sent in 15 shipments to Lesotho since inception in 2007 is 155,932 being loaded on 74 pallets and at a shipping cost of $58,687 (excludes “running costs”).

(Graphs not updated to include the 2019 TRC shipment described above.)

A VOLUNTEER SPEAKS…

I am a teacher who has always enjoyed learning and helping young people to learn. Much of that learning has been by reading, often guided for a specific learning experience but nothing beats the freedom of choosing a book out of interest and for pleasure (as I now enjoy in retirement).

It is the purpose of Books for Lesotho to provide a range of books for school libraries in Lesotho so that students can choose books which are of interest to them, and thereby enhance their capacity to learn.

A few years back my wife Bev and I chatted with good friends David and Liz about their wish to assist a librarian in Lesotho who had a dream of setting up libraries in local schools that had limited resources. We happily offered a little time to help them sort and pack in their garage the books they had managed to source.

It is wonderful to now see the scope of their operation as an incorporated body. Thanks to the many schools and organisations and the people in them for continuing to provide good quality fiction and non-fiction books of interest to children of school age, and for the money that helps to send them. The children in Lesotho and their teachers are most grateful. I like that David and Liz have several times visited schools in Lesotho and seen the distribution of books in practice.

Brian is centre-right with other volunteers, Rob, Liz and Ray

MORAL SUPPORT FROM OUR POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES……

During October, Nat Cooke, State Member for Hurtle Vale visited The Barn in support of the volunteers (the current number of volunteers is 9). Like other visitors, Nat was very interested in the efficient process – from receiving the books through to despatch to Lesotho.

Nat Cooke MP and 7 B4L volunteers

My job these days is to arrange books in groups of similar size for ready packing in boxes by experienced master packer Ray! In doing so I do a cross check on the quality and suitability of the previously sorted books for the intended age group. Much of the fun is working and chatting with colleagues for a meaningful purpose.

Brian Webber

Also, during October, we received this letter from Nicolle Flint MP, Federal Member for Boothby

Dear David.
I am writing to congratulate you and your volunteers on the extraordinary shipment of 4 pallets of books to Lesotho in recent months. [The shipment was to the Rotary Club of Maloti.]
You should be most proud of your achievements is 2019. I understand that you received several large donations from local schools, giving a big boost to your supplies, and enabling you to continue your wonderful work within our community.
I feel very proud to have such inspiring residents in our community. I thank you for your ongoing contributions and service.
I wish you all the very best in the year to come, and look forward to reading an update in your next newsletter.
Yours sincerely
Nicolle Flint MP

Keeping in the theme, Carolyn Power MP, State Member for Elder has her diary ready to book a visit early in 2020.

NEWS FROM THE BOARD and AGM – meetings held during November 2019

At the AGM, 3 retiring members of the Board were re-elected for 2-year terms. At the following meeting of the Board, David Linn was re-elected as Chairman and Wayne Turner as Treasurer.

THE BARN IS CLOSING FOR A BREAK

Last day for 2019 – 13 December.
Re-opening – 22 January 2020 when we will be into packing for the Rotary Club of Maloti

Merry Christmas to you all – where ever you are in the world! May 2020 treat you well. Good reading!

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho

Newsletter #15, September 2019

GOOD NEWS

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.

He wrote:

Dear David
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.
Best regards
Victor Lechesa

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. 
Elizabeth Bleby 

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. 

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc. 

Newsletter #14, June 2019

GOOD NEWS

The 12th shipment of books to the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) in Lesotho was celebrated at TRC at a ceremony on 23 May 2019. 16,880 books were distributed to 15 primary schools, 39 high schools, a community library and the Juvenile Training Centre in Maseru. Several boxes in the shipment were sent to community organisations needing books to support their local program including in Morija, a youth drop-in centre and an art school both in Morija and Lesotho Child Counselling Unit at Mazenod. Image left shows the boxes being unloaded at TRC.

The 2nd shipment of 4 pallets (11,087 books) destined for community and school projects conducted by the Rotary Club of Maloti left The Barn on 24th of May (image on the left).

WHICH LEADS INTO AN UPDATE ON THE 2018/19FINANCIAL POSITION – with more good news!

We reported in the last newsletter that the Board approved sending the full shipment to the Rotary Club of Maloti (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 experienced in 2018/19.

Thank you to all who have made a donation this financial year.

In Lesotho, both TRC and RCoMa have requested Lesotho Revenue Authority 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 load on Books for Lesotho Inc..

REMARKS ABOUT THE PROJECT

David and Liz have a wonderful friend in Lesotho, Nthatuoa, who happens to 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-buildingproject”. (By the way, Australia comes in at number 3.)

NEWS FROM THE BARN

The Barn operates with 8 volunteers each Wednesday morning, although with holidays, house moving and the odd illness that “oldies” seem to attract, and toadd the endless lunches and morning teas that some of our number give as an excuse to be absent, we are sometimes down to 3!

We had help for 2 sessions from Nadia Clancy, who was at the time the Labor candidate for Boothby. The image shows Nadia sorting books at The Barn with regular volunteer Jill Read. We hope we will see Nadia again.

NEWS FROM THE BOARD

At the May meeting of the Board, Meg Coupland resigned due to a family issue. The Board accepted the resignation with great regret. At the same meeting, Caillan Williams was co-opted to fill the vacant position. We welcome Caillan to the Board.

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 Year 7 to Year 10 level (or ages 12 to 14) – they continue to be in short supply.

Monetary donations are used to cover shipping costs from Australia to Lesotho; we do not purchase books.

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.


Newsletter #13, March 2019

GOOD NEWS

We have new premises for our operations – well, not really, it is the location that has a NEW NAME – Pasadena High School is no more; from the start of the new school year it has been named…………

With a new motto, Igniting Inquisitive Imagination, it is off to a new life!

Books for Lesotho wishes the school community a great future under the new name and operating with renewed vigour. Based on the experience some of us had at annual Presentation Ceremony (see below), the spirit in the school is alive and well, and it deserves to thrive.

RECOGNITION BY PASADENA HIGH SCHOOL

Well, at the time, December 2018, it was still so called (see above).

David and Liz Linn and Rob Langley (pictured sporting the trophy with School Principal, Ms Wendy House) attended the ceremony at the inviation of the school, and were amazed when Books for Lesotho Inc. was awarded “Valued Volunteer”. We are pleased to be warmly welcomed users of The Barn, courtesy of The School.

CLOSED FOR A “BREAK”

The Barn was closed during January to allow volunteers to have a break. Even so, there was still a lot going on over the period: books were still being delivered by arrangement, and the 2019 shipment for Transformation Resource Centre (7 pallets/116 boxes/16,880 books) left The Barn. The shipment arrived at TRC on 15th March 2019 – another triumph for B4L and our shipping agents; thank you.

BOOK DONATIONS

I have written previously that B4L receives donations of books from too many sources to be able to list and thank each one here. One of the most prolific donors is the Lions Club of Glenunga Bookmart. During February David and Liz collected a large number of boxes; Lions Club member Yee Cheng Leong helped with the loading.

REMARKS ABOUT THE PROJECT

The source of inspiration for Books for Lesotho Inc. came from ‘Me Mosa Muso who was Librarian atTransformation Resource Centre (TRC) when David and Liz visited Lesotho in 2006. It is Mosa who had the dream to establish a library in every school in the country. Below, Mosa is pictured with her husband in Welcom, South Africa. After reading the December Newsletter, Mosa sent the following message:

Seasons greetings.
I read with great interest the newsletter which I would like to receive as long as you publish it. It’s very informative concerning the events that eventually lead to the arrival of the books at TRC.
I would like to give my thanks to these individuals who sacrifice their time for Lesotho children.
There is something that indeed fascinates me that is your continuous support to collect the books at the same time fundraising. Please let these energy never stop until all schools understand the importance of reading. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2019!
Regards

Mosa


The Lesotho Child Counselling Unit in Mazenod shelters children needing support. LCCU has received books from B4L.’Me Lydia Muso, who is the founder and key worker (the “mother” of the house), sent us these images.

HOW ARE THE BOOKS USED?

he Lesotho Child Counselling Unit in Mazenod shelters children needing support. LCCU has received books from B4L.’Me Lydia Muso, who is the founder and key worker (the “mother” of the house), sent us these images.

IS IT WORTH THE EFFORT AND COST?

I read an on-line sponsored article in InDaily on 23 Jan 2019. What caught my eye was:

“Here are some things we know:

  • Our attentions function differently in the contemporary era and we need to work both with and against thatfact in order to ensure we can benefit from the cognitive reward of reading long-form text.
  • Reading is a skill that uses the brain as a muscle and this can be exercised and trained. Just because we find itdifficult to read Middlemarch doesn’t mean it always has to be this way. Every difficult activity can benefitfrom building up, training, practicing and not giving up.
  • The benefits of long form, immersive reading on the brain, the imagination, creative capacity, empathy, on the intellect, are significant and should be sought out.
  • As with other exercises, we form habits by making choices and sticking with them. Committing to reading when we are distracted by other claims on our attention is something we can develop.
  • Persevering with reading even when it is challenging has significant cognitive pay-offs. This must be balanced with the idea that finding the right book for the right person is the most important thing.
  • When students start a university degree, they need to be ready for the challenge of reading works that aren’t designed to grab them, to have hooks, to be “relatable”

From: Why students need to be good readers, by Kate Douglas, Professor of English and Dr Tully Barnett, Lecturer in Creative Enterprise both at Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia

NEWS FROM THE BOARD

At the February meeting of the Board, Deane Kemp tendered his resignation as a Director. Deane joined the Board in June 2016 and has made a significant contribution in that position. Thank you, Deane.Mr Rob Langley (a key volunteer at The Barn) was co-opted to fill the vacancy. Ms Meg Coupland had offered her services to B4L and the Board co-opted her to fill one other vacant position. We welcome each of you to the Board.

BOOK DONATIONS ARE NEEDED – AS FOLLOWS:

Books for Lesotho Inc. welcomes donations of suitable books at any time. There is a pressing need for books (fiction and non-fiction) at Year 7 to Year 10 level (or ages 12 to 14) – they continue to be in short supply.

Monetary donations are used to cover shipping costs from Australia to Lesotho; we do not purchase books.

FINANCIAL UPDATE

The budget for 2018/19 is $15,029 (about 60c per book). Between 01 July 2018 and 20 March 2019, donations total $13,811, of which, the Mitcham Exercise Group has collected $773 (to end of February.)

The Board recently approved sending the 4th pallet (now being packed) to the Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMa) even though it potentially places us in a deficit position this year. However, we are now only $1,200 short of covering the annual budget; can you help us meet the target before 30 June?

Thank you to all who have made a donation this financial year.

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 TRC and RCoMa have advised that each will pay Lesotho duty (if applicable) and charges for customs clearance – a wonderful contribution and a sign of commitment to the project .

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.


Newsletter #12, December 2018

CHANGE OF ADDRESS 

Please note that while B4L has changed its official address, at the time of writing this is still a construction site!! If you are intending to visit us other than at The Barn, please contact David on 0418 877 112 to make the arrangement. 

CLOSING FOR A BREAK 

Please note that The Barn will not be open to accept deliveries from noon on 19 December until 9.30am on 30 January 2019. We can take a break because of the rate of sorting and packing!! 

Should anyone need to contact B4L over the break, please do so by email or contact David on 0418 877 112 

THIS IS WHAT WE ARE ABOUT 

FINANCIAL UPDATE 

The budget for 2018/19 is $15,029 (about 60c per book). Since 01 July 2018, donations total $4,928. Of that, the Mitcham Exercise Group has collected $550 since 1 July 2018 compared with $557 last year – a wonderful effort. If you do the sum you will note that we need about $10,000 more before 30 June 2019 to break-even The Board has prudently resolved that the shipment to Transformation Resource Centre (7 pallets, packed and ready) will be shipped during January, but the next 4 pallets being packed now for the Rotary Club of Maloti will only be shipped if funds are available. There is our challenge. 

BOOKS DONATIONS 

Books for Lesotho receives books from many sources – Thank you all.
We need supplies of books at Year 7 – Year 10 (or ages 12 to 14) level – they are always in short supply. 

VOLUNTEERS 

They don’t want to be recognised, so if you think you know one of these great people, you must be wrong! Needless to say, without this dedicated band (plus 2 missing from the images) the donations of books and cash would be futile. Thank you to this great group. 
Thank you Pasadena High School for your on-going support through the use of The Barn 

CHRISTMAS AND ALL THAT! 

From Books for Lesotho Inc. to you, wherever you are in the world, have a great Christmas and may 2019 be kind to you and your family. 
David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.

Newsletter #11, September 2018

FINANCIAL UPDATE 

In the last Newsletter, Books for Lesotho appealed for help to cover the deficit for the financial year in which we shipped 25,776 books in 2 shipments to Lesotho. The “good” extra costs came because we shipped 12,504 more books than last year, while the “bad” costs were due to higher transport charges. 

Throughout the year, donors gave generously to achieve the final result for 2017/18: Donations $13,957; Expenses $14,632 – a pleasing result after several financial scares during the year. 

The Mitcham Exercise Group collected $1,192.15 over the 2017/18 financial year, mostly in small donations over the period. What a stupendous effort. 

The budget for 2018/19 is $15,029 (about 60c per book). We have already received 3 significant donations, including ongoing support from the Rotary Club of Mitcham. Thank you all for your support. 

BOOKS DONATIONS 

Books for Lesotho receives books from many sources; private, charity and commercial second-hand bookshops, council libraries, schools and publishers Wiley Jacaranda and MacMillan. Thank you all – you are “too many” to list. We acknowledge especially the charity book outlets – Rotary Club of Mitcham and Glenside Lions. 

INNOVATIVE COLLECTION EFFORTS 

A CONTRIBUTION FROM THE U.S.A. 

Ryan Casper and Anne Pechanek are on the staff at Ellsworth High School in Wisconsin, USA. They have supported a student undertaking her required school service project after she selected to collect and send books to Lesotho. The books have been shipped directly to Maliba Lodge for schools in their area – schools which are already part of the B4L scheme. Liz and I met Ryan and his wife Melinda when both couples were staying at Maliba Lodge – and here is the result!! 


Congratulations to Maya for a great project and a huge result. 
Below you can see Maya and Ryan with 28 boxes, and left, the loaded pallet.

 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD TURNS ONE YEAR OLD?? HERE IS AN ANSWER 

Cynthia contacted B4L to check out an idea she had; to invite people attending Jasmine’s first birthday party to donate a book rather than give a gift. We encouraged her and have now received the donated books. Cynthia sent images (I could not bring myself to delete any) along with these words: 

I honestly believe that reading is one of the most important ingredients to becoming all that you can be. I volunteered in Ethiopia at a primary school in 2013 and nothing compares to the smiles on a child’s face when they read/are read their favourite book. Reading not only helps you become a better student, but a better person. Doing our bit to help establish a children’s library in Lesotho, just seemed like a wonderful thing to do for my first born’s first birthday. Margaret Fuller once said “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity. 

Thank you, Cynthia and Jasmine and your donors. The children in Lesotho will also say, “Thank you”. 

AS IF YOU NEED AN EXCUSE TO DRESS UP!! 

“Book Week at Elwood College was very successful this year. We had fun dressing up as book characters but we also wanted to use our Book Week to raise awareness about underprivileged young people in Lesotho. We organised and presented posters, placed donation boxes in the library and asked students and staff to bring any unwanted books from their home. Staff and students participated, donated books in excellent condition. It is with pleasure that I can report we collected 6 boxes with around 240 books. 

“We hope we can set a good example and encourage other schools to organise similar events. Hopefully all the books we’ve collected will be useful and relevant. We are looking forward to cooperating again with “Books for Lesotho” in near future. 

“Monia Ibralic (Librarian, Elwood College)” 

NEWS RECEIVED FROM LESOTHO THIS WEEK: 

“The Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) through its Library in the Information and Communications Department donated books to selected 15 primary schools, 24 high schools and 1 community library found in Maseru, Mafeteng, Leribe, Botha-Bothe and Mokhotlong. This annual occasion was hosted at TRC premises on the 13th September 2018. 

“The project goal is to promote habitual readership culture and literacy amongst students through the establishment of mini libraries. This generous book donation project has been carried out successfully through the Books for Lesotho support. The books will be donated to schools for a five year period with the hope that it is sufficient for the schools to collect an adequate supply of books enabling them to attain the envisioned libraries. This year the TRC distributed 103 cartons of reading books to foster a love for reading. 

“Present at the distribution ceremony: Chairperson of the TRC Board, TRC Director and staff members, Principals from schools in TRC project sites, Teachers who will be in charge of libraries, Student representatives, a representative from African Library Project, and Media representatives. 

“The schools showed an understanding of the project vision; they expressed their views and perceptions and appreciated their roles to make it a success. Students were encouraged to develop a culture of reading and were excited to receive the books. 

“The schools also signed contracts making a commitment to ensure the project becomes a success. It was also agreed that a monitoring template will be developed to guide schools on the operation of a library, the impact and their progress. The schools will also undergo training to enhance their librarianship skills.” 

Contributor: Ms Likopo K. J Mokhele, Information Officer, TRC Information and Resource Centre Department 

Thank you Pasadena High School for your on-going support through the use of The Barn

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc. 

Newsletter #10, June 2018

IN AUSTRALIA, 30 JUNE IS TIME FOR TAX RETURNS! 

Recently, the Board of Books for Lesotho learned that a $3,750 shortfall currently exists between donations to date ($9,650) and expected expenses ($13,400) to June 30th 2018.
The good news is the expenses cover 2 shipments totalling 25,780 books. The deliveries have gone to our traditional partner, Transformation Resource Centre (16,660 books) and to our new partners, the Rotary Club of Maloti (9,120 books). These books will assist in creating or expanding libraries in about 41 schools or institutions, opening the window to the joy of reading for hundreds of students. 

For those interested in comparisons: Donations last financial year totalled $12,800 while expenses were $ 12,900. (Expenses included one shipment of 13,300 books to our founding partner, Transformation Resource Centre.)

CAN YOU HELP BOOKS FOR LESOTHO BREAK-EVEN THIS YEAR WITH A DONATION NOW???? 

The easiest way to donate is to use GiveNow – a secure system with immediate issue of a receipt: 

Or contact David (linnd@bigpond.net.au or 0418 877 112) to enquire about other methods of making a donation. 

A huge THANK YOU to individuals and organisations who have given generously this financial year. 

We continue to acknowledge the donation of books from many sources and pro-bono support in various ways. We have 9 active volunteers who work well together each Wednesday morning in the confined space of The Barn at Pasadena High School. 

Seen here are volunteers sorting books at The Barn prior to them being packed into boxes ready for shipping. 

Regularly we have up to 9 volunteers at any one time, all busy. Thank you all. 

LATE NEWS: The Mitcham Exercise Group has in the past 11 months donated over $1,010 compared with $990 for whole 2016/17 year – what a great effort. Thank you. 

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING
APRIL 2018 – We despatched, the now customary, 7 pallets of books, being 105 boxes containing 

16,631 books, to our long-term partners, Transformation Resource Centre in Maseru, Lesotho. 

The total number of books shipped over 11 years, inclusive of the first shipment to the Rotary Club of Maloti which was despatched in late 2017 (see report below) = 130,000. 

MAY 2018 – Three of the Directors of Books for Lesotho Inc., David and Liz Linn and Peter Murchland together with Meg Murchland made a privately sponsored visit to Lesotho and South Africa. While they had some holiday-time scheduled (for relaxing and sight-seeing), there were some very busy days in Lesotho dealing with “The Book Business”. 

Establishing connection with the TRC staff recently appointed to drive the distribution and cultural transformation process. Pictured from left: Tsikoane Peshoane (TRC Director), Meg Murchland, Lerato Phaaroe, Peter Murchland, Liz Linn, Likopo Mokhele and David Linn) 

Meeting with key leaders in Rotary Club of Maloti in Maseru to learn about the new library they have built and exploring their approach to building a potential partnership with the Rotary Club of Mitcham. 

Meeting with Monica Letsoha to learn about the African Library Project, and the initiatives being driven by the Lesotho Librarian Association (ALP) and Botho University in supporting library training in ALP recipient schools and communities. 

MAY 2018 – VISITING SCHOOL IN THE MALIBA AREA – in the Far North of Lesotho

St Felix Primary School 

St Dominic Primary School 

A report just to hand from the Rotary Club of Maloti, Lesotho, on the distribution in early 2018 of 4 pallets of books comprising 60 boxes and containing 9.115 books – mainly for schools in remote districts – is reproduced on attached .pdf file. 

David Linn
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.