On 15 June 2022, B4L completed the packing of 3 pallets of books destined for a new partner in Lesotho, the Rotary Club of Mantsopa (RCoMan). Recognising that costs incurred at the border between South Africa and Lesotho might be a burden on this fairly new club, the B4L Board determined to add to the support by making a contribution towards these costs, maybe sufficient to cover them all!
The response from the Club? “Good morning David, We really appreciate what B4L is doing, we’re running out of words. Many thanks to B4L and to sponsors. Kind regards, Makhetha”
The B4L Board also determined to provide further support to my “new discovery”, NewToro Books. The organisation was started by Retsepile Sello in Mokhotlong in NE Lesotho. It offers a subscription service to everyone in Lesotho.. 4 boxes of books destined for NewToro are on the water now with the shipment to Rotary Club of Maloti (RCoMal). Again ,recognising the costs incurred at the border between South Africa and Lesotho, the B4L Board determined to support NewToro by paying its share of those costs. Rets wrote: “Thank you so much David. My team and I are so grateful and excited and can’t wait to have and share the B4L books. Rets – NewToro Books”.
THE HARD FACTS SOFTENED BY GOOD NEWS, THEN MORE GOOD NEWS
With the huge increase in costs hitting shipments to Lesotho, the 2021/22 budget has been exceeded by more than $1,500, but your generous donations have B4L almost meeting the expected costs for 2021/22. Thank you.
The required amount has been achieved with the help of 2 Rotary Clubs, Hyde Park and Blackwood responding to our appeal for support to their fellow clubs in Lesotho. I also recognise the ongoing support with books and $s from St Peters Club. (B4L also receives books from Mitcham Rotary Bookshop.)
Lions International clubs also have supported B4L; Glenside Club by the ongoing and significant supply of books, and Blackwood Club by way of a significant $ donation.
There has been another challenge (and this it the “more good news” bit) – to meet the B4L Board’s edict that books could only be sent to a new partner, the Rotary Club of Mantsopa, provided extra funds were raised to cover this cost, now a huge $4,470 for 3 pallets, plus about $800 to cover in-country costs (as described above). These cost shas been covered by another generous donation from the Lang Foundation.
Thank you to all the above and to the many, many other donors of books and dollars – it all makes up the whole!
This is yet to be determined but will likely be about $25,000 compared with $16,429 for 2021/22. It does not look like an easy target. With any surplus from this year and the balance of the Lang Foundation donation, we will be off to a good start towards the target: by 31 December 2022, B4L will have collected, sorted, packed and shipped over 250,000 books for schools, institutions, and community libraries in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
To illustrate the change in costs: in 2007 B4L sent 4 pallets to Lesotho at a cost of $2,847. In April 2022 we sent 4 pallets at a cost of $5,890. Will it be more by December 2022?
YOUR END-OF-TAX YEAR DONATION
As B4L has covered its costs for 2021/22, any donations received on or before 30 June 2022 will be receipted in this tax year but the funds will be used against next year’s costs.
In June I reported “B4L urgently needs one or two new volunteers to help sort and/or pack books; must be available on a Wednesday morning (not necessarily every week!)”
Glenys Hamer answered the call and has settled in as a valued part of the team. Thanks Glenys, and welcome.
And due a change in his life plans, Callum Andrews is returning to help at The Barn very soon. Welcome back Callum.
A BIG THANK YOU
Thank you everyone who has contributed in whatever way.
“Your donation has never been more important – Books for Lesotho needs over $12,000 before 30th June 2022 to breakeven for the financial year. Will you contribute?” Many of you did respond, and over $7,000 was donated. We are short $3,555 from reaching 2021/22 budget (and the budget does not include any recent rises in freight costs). You can help by donating before 30 June 2022.
I reported it is the sea freight costs (we have previously been amazed at how reasonable they have been) that have escalated by about 55%. The following email arrived from supporter Michele:
“yikes, freight costs have gone up significantly but I was expecting that, so I’m happy to pay for the pallet cost of $1,242 & have transferred the money now. Can you please send me a receipt, thanks. I have an online business (kids sunsmart clothing) which I source from overseas and I feel that increase in freight cost pain too! It’s from the profit of that business which I’ve funded the donations, so if you wanted to give a mention in the newsletter at any time that would be great, but also not necessary if it doesn’t fit. Lightweight cotton clothing to help keep little ones covered from the sun, but still cool & comfortable. You might recognise my children James & Felicity in the photos from when they were small! I’m actually reading a great novel at the moment ‘The Giver of Stars’ about depression era pack horse library in the mountains of Kentucky, and it reminds me every time I pick it up about the value books and reading can bring to a community.”
Michele gave B4L permission to use her words, so I have reproduced it in full, firstly to acknowledge her generosity (for two years running), her motivation, her observation about the value of reading, and finally, a hope that you might find and check out her company website: www.threesunpossums.com.au. Thank you, Michele, for your words, and $ donations.
And here is another initiative:
My exercise group at Mitcham has for years supported the B4L project by making small donations weekly which, over a year, has usually funded the shipping of one pallet. Cicely is a member of that group. Each year Cicely has opened her home garden on Australia Day to members of the group and partners for a BYO social event, with entry donations to a charity. You guessed it, Cicely nominated B4L for 2022! COVID rules ruled out using her garden so the group assembled in the Mitcham Memorial Gardens. It was a lovely day in the shade (on an otherwise hot day) and that must have helped with the raising of $78. Thank you, Cicely (pictured, right, with Liz Linn at the event) and the donors.
It pays to advertise: So I’m told, or at least to get your name in the media. You’ve read about this in a previous newsletter; the report of the book donation by the Rotary Club of Maloti to the Mpharane community library (initiated by Ntate Mothae Moletsane). But now I’ve seen it written up with the image on the right in an online news service from Lesotho, www.themail.co.ls:
Here is the news item with the linked image to the right:
I started up an email interchange with Retsepile (“Rets”) and I discovered more about her and her life and determined that she is an amazing young woman! If you want to learn more about her and her NGO, NewToro Books click here: https://www.newtoro.org/. Her organisation is a subscription library service offered through NewToro Books. It’s purpose closely matches the aims of B4L, so much so that the B4L Board agreed to donate M5,000 to NewToro to allow the service to be expanded. The donation (equivalent to AUD450) was raised in one day through a special appeal launched by the Board.
Upon further interaction, B4L determined that perhaps 4 boxes of books would help NewToro Books grow. The 4 boxes packed totalled 335 books, a significant adding to the current stock. WOW. The boxes have been added to the shipment to the Rotary Club of Maloti which will leave B4L during April 2022. To add to the story, we understand that RCoMa and NewToro have formed a relationship to work together – a multiplication effect after my reading of NewToro Books online!
The Rotary Club of Maloti is an enterprising club! What I have observed includes partnering with B4L and distributing books, (next page) assisting with the delivery of donated books to the Morija Seminary, supporting the new library at Mpharane (see page 1), considering working with NewToro Books (at least to facilitate the book delivery, as above), and sponsoring the start-up of the Rotary Club of Montsopa (see later). We can learn a lot more about where B4L books have gone from this, off its Facebook page (my editing):
“This a short coverage of handover (by RCoMa) of Books to the school at Sisters of the Good Shepherd Centre (4 boxes for primary 1-3, 7 boxes for primary 4–5, 6 boxes for primary 6-7) and ANTS pre-school (3 boxes).”
And a big surprise to me – a new Rotary Club in Lesotho
The morning after I discovered NewToro Books on Facebook, an email lobbed in the B4L Inbox:
“Greetings from Lesotho David, The Rotary Club of Mantsopa was chartered on 15 June 2021, making it the third Rotary Club in Lesotho. The average age for our members is 35. Our Club comprises more of young adults compared to the other two clubs. Our meetings are held at Victoria Hotel on Thursdays, 17:30- 18:30. Can I kindly ask what is required to be a partner with books for Lesotho organization? Best regards, Makhetha Motsoari Mantsopa Rotary Club- President”
What can one do but ask for more details! And then:
Hello David, Thank you for the swift response.
I’m aware that you are already partnering with The Rotary Club of Maloti and TRC. The Club of Mantsopa Rotary Club is aiming to distribute books to at least 3 Primary Schools, 3 High Schools and 1 community library each year. Please note that I have included Mr. Lemphane in this mail; he is Mantsopa Rotary Club- Secretary. Thank you. Kind regards,
What can one do after that? Check we have a supply of books: Yes! Check volunteers agree that we can pack 4 more pallets (10,000 books) in a year – Yes! (Bless them) Check what the B4L Board thinks – Yes! they agree (bless them, too). But, subject to raising extra funds to cover the costs (the Board is very pragmatic!), about $6,250 (at March’s freight rate). B4L is now seeking the donations to allow a 3rd (or is it 4th) partner to receive books to give to worthy school, institutions and communities to establish or expand their library.
If the funding is available, Books for Lesotho Inc. will, before 31 December 2022, have collected, sorted, packed and shipped over 250,000 books for schools, institutions, and community libraries in the Kingdom of Lesotho, a feat in which book donations from Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, municipal and school libraries, community groups and private individuals have all played a part. Financial support has come from many of the same service clubs, Lang Foundation, community groups and individuals. All together you have played a significant role, whatever the size and type of your donation.
And I must not forget those who give In-Kind. A BIG THANK YOU TO:
Jurlique at Mount Barker, SA – for sending B4L the 2022-23 supply of plastic pallets (which must be used for any freight passing through the Port of Singapore) – it seems to be an annual ritual which is both convenient for B4L and also cost saving (and perhaps saves the pallets otherwise going to waste!).
Preschem of Melbourne Vic – for sending B4L the 2022-23 supply of cartons – it seems to be another annual ritual which is both convenient for B4L and also cost saving. Preschem also donates the labels for the cartons.
NewToro Books seems to have a new book promotion on Facebook every day – to the left is one of them.
On Wednesday, 30 March, we completed packing the 4th and last pallet for this shipment, destined for Rotary Club of Maloti. It included 4 boxes of books for NewToro Books – is this a new era for the subscription borrowing service!
POSITION VACANT: B4L urgently needs one or two new volunteers to help sort and/or pack books; must be available on a Wednesday morning (not necessarily every week!) Please make contact
Thank you everyone who has contributed in whatever way.
Your donation has never been more important – Books for Lesotho needs over $12,000 before 30th June 2022 to breakeven for the financial year. Will you contribute …???
Donations from 01 July to 31 December 2021 totalled $4,555 ($8,479 last year) – budget $17,183 ($14,208 last year). Freight costs have recently risen by 55% – this is our main expense. Shortfall this time last year was $5,729 – this year it is $12,623
Is it worth supporting Books for Lesotho? The words from Lesotho reported below speak for the cause. Your financial support will enable the project to continue – ways of giving are on the website.
Words from Rotary Club of Maloti, Lesotho, Friday 01 October 2021: Goodday David, You and other Aussies dedication to this project is, indeed, amazing. Out of this world. On behalf of the Rotary Club of Maloti and all the recipients of these most valuable books, let me express our profound gratitude. When we were at Morija Theology Seminary for delivery of books, the Rector of the Seminary said that the books were the most valuable they had ever had. He said the whole shelf was good enough for a fully fleshed library on its own. I have just shared copy of the newsletter with members of our Club.
Best regards. Bore Motsamai Director, Foundation Committee
Ntate Matsobane, who originally requested the special project for theology books (which was separately funded to the books for schools), wrote:
Hi David. They (the trainees in the seminary) were very excited, especially that some of them are studying for their PHD’s and they found a lot of useful literature. Thank you a lot.
A WhatsAPP message arrived from Ntate Mothae Moletsane on 15 October 2021:
“Loading boxes from Rotary Club storage (then heading) to Moharane Community Library today”
A donation of books from Liesel Kippen:
As I report regularly in the newsletters, B4L receives books from many sources with deliveries arriving by various means, and often several each week. We try to acknowledge these donations directly, and the $ donations too. In this newsletter we acknowledge only a few. I mention this one now in recognition of Liesel’s donation as representative of the many smaller donations that add up to the thousands of books we send. As Liesel wrote, “When kind acts are acknowledged, however small, it encourages us to do more and more.” Books for Lesotho Inc. thanks all the donors – we end the year with The Barn bulging with books to be sorted, books to be packed, and as reported elsewhere 7 pallets ready to send to TRC in Lesotho.
Post on Facebook 27 October 2021 from our in-country partner, TRC:
“Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) is still on a mission to encourage students to develop a reading culture. This week the information department is out to defeat the odds and deliver books to schools as opposed to what used to be the norm. In the previous years the Centre used to host schools at its premises to facilitate the donation but due to COVID-19 this has not been the case. Needless to point out the fact that this has immensely affected pupils academically, psychologically and financially. The Centre hopes to restore a bit of normalcy by delivering these boxes to schools still with the aim of providing sufficient material to establish school libraries and the upkeep of a reading culture more so in these uncertain times.
B4L is pleased to see these books which were packed during 2020 and despatched to Lesotho in February 2021, have now been distributed to the recipient schools, despite interruptions in Australia, South Africa and Lesotho due to COVID-19. Well done staff at TRC! All our volunteers and donors (books and $s) are thrilled!
Once Upon a Festival:
Immanuel College held its first Once Upon a Festival this year. On 10th November, Dr Kylie Booker, Director of Resources and Innovation, sent the following email:
“The books you picked up today were generously donated by students who attended Once Upon a Festival, a school-based literary festival that was hosted at the Immanuel Campus on the 28th and 29th of October for students in all sectors of Primary and Secondary education. Quite a number of books were also donated by Immanuel Primary School as well as the Immanuel College Library.
Once Upon a Festival was a success despite some inclement weather as well as COVID-19 impacting on our ability to bring interstate-based authors to the Festival to appear in person, as we had originally planned. The interstate-based authors appeared via Zoom and the sessions were just as well received as were those presented by local South Australian authors and illustrators, culminating in some terrific feedback from many schools and students who participated.
We hope to be able to deliver another Festival in the future.”
Our Humble Waste Bin….. is essential for the recycling of the hundreds of cartons we receive each year, as well as the small quantity of books unsuitable to send. Through Peter from Cleanaway Waste Management Limited B4L has a shiny new bin and an amazing contract rate for taking our “waste”. Thank you Cleanaway for your support of B4L. Your charge-rate will help our budget!! Thank you everyone who has contributed in whatever way.
Brian died during July 2021. He was a long-term member of the Over 50’s Mitcham Exercise Group and staunch supporter of Books for Lesotho within that Group. For several years, this group has helped B4L by regularly donating small change at class sessions. Brian always helped out with donation collections when I was away. At the suggestion of Jennifer Dow, members of the Group made donations to Books for Lesotho in his memory (and I am sure Brian would have approved). Donations totalled $140.00. B4L thanks the donors and we offer our condolences to his wife Jenny and the family. On an extra and very sad note, I report that more recently, Brian’s wife, Jenny, has also died.
Occupational Health & Safety – Help in The Barn
Wome of the B4L volunteers were showing their age when they made a request for mechanical help to place the heavy filled cartons on either the bottom layer on a pallet, or the top layer (3rd level). They recently received that help with the acquisition of a new hydraulic scissor lifter trolley – Left: see Ray and Rob in action using the new equipment. The cartons are now packed on the lifter and when sealed the lifter is rolled near to the required position on the pallet. The cartons are then easily slid into place. The B4L Board approved the purchase as capital item utilising some of the previous generous grant from the Lang Foundation (thank you).
Another valuable and generous donation arrives at The Barn:
You may recall seeing a simlar image to the one left…. This is “repeat”. This pallet load of new cartons arrived recently from Melboure, generously donated and freighted by Chris from Preschem Pty Ltd. Chris is a great supported of Lesothoand helps B4L in this fashion according to our need for cartons (and this does seem to be quite often). Thank you, Chris.
A contribution from Maddie:
Maddie is one of B4L’s newest volunteers. She haswritten about her involvement with B4L.
Hi, I’m Madeline and I recently started volunteering at B4L, Initially, I was just looking to fill my time but after seeing the work done at B4L I’m now very passionate about it. Seeing the sheer number of books that go through the barn and get sorted and packed into boxes to be sent off is really inspiring; it truly is amazing how much we are able to send to Lesotho. At B4L I mostly sort books by checking themes, the complexity of words, and readability in terms of typeface, font size, etc, and decide what age group the books are appropriate for. Being at B4L hasbeen wonderful, the environment is lovely with everyone being so welcoming and joyous, and knowing that I’m helping this organization to make a real difference really is wonderful. Whilst I started simply looking to fill time, now I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
2020/21 FINANCES (unaudited):
To 30 June 2021: Donations = $14,203
Expenses = $13,973 (freight costs have just risen by 55% – and this is our main expense)
In the June 2021, B4L made an appeal for last minute donations to close the gap on our expenses. Last minute donations “closed the gap” – thank you
The B4L Board has approved a budget of $17,183 compared with $14,203 last year. This figure is likely to present a challenge to meet through our only source of income – your donations.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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…..
MITCHAM 50-AND-OVER EXERCISE GROUP – Since July 2020, donations have totalled $719 compared with $822 for last year. Thank you.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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 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,
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.