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.


Official Opening of New Premises

On Saturday, 27 May 2017, Hon Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, officially opened the new base for Books for Lesotho at The Barn, Pasadena High School (Adelaide). He and Mrs Lan Le met David Linn (Chairman of the Board), Liz Linn (Member of the Board), and Wendy House (Principal of Pasadena High School) before addressing the invited guests.

In his address Mr Le referred to the 10-year history of the project which has now delivered over 102,000 books to some 60 primary and secondary schools and about 10 organisations working with disadvantaged children in Lesotho. Lesotho is totally surrounded by South Africa, has a population of about 2,000,000 and is smaller than Tasmania.

Me Le pointed out that with 2,500 primary school and 250 secondary schools, many without resources beyond basic government supply, there was a big challenge ahead for Books for Lesotho.

Key people in Lesotho have declared this a “nation building project” whereby children are being given the opportunity to learn to read for pleasure and from that base increase their educational and work opportunities.

Mr and Mrs Le then inspected the facility were books are received from around Australia, sorted and packed for despatch to local partners in Lesotho.

Morning tea was provided by staff and students of the school.

St. Camillus Centre

“I wanted to thank you again for the amazing book donation and taking time out of your trip to Lesotho to stop by St. Camillus! You, you’re wife, and your organization are doing wonderful things and I’m so glad we got to be a part of it.

I have attached some photos of the kids using the books today. I wasn’t with them and our new volunteer let them have the books outside which we usually don’t do but they handled the books well!”

– Katie Walker, Healthy Youth Volunteer, Peace Corps Lesotho

Newsletter #8, April 2017

A lot has happened in the past eight weeks, far more than can be put in a “readable” length newsletter. Here are the highlights.

BOOK DISTRIBUTION, MARCH 2017

Founders, David and Liz, were at Transformation Resource Centre in Maseru for the book distribution ceremony, the 10th annual event. For many schools this marked the end of the five-year cycle for receiving books. You can see the long list of recipients here.

We can all be proud of the effort the staff at TRC have put in to distribute 102,189 books and other items over the life of the project.

There was extensive media coverage of the event especially by PublicEye (two long articles) and LesothoTV (a long segment on the event).

For more images click here.

MEETING OUR LESOTHO PATRON

David and Liz had the pleasure of meeting Books for Lesotho’s Lesotho Patron, His Royal Highness, Prince Dr Seeiso Bereng Seeiso. Prince Seeiso is an outgoing person with a high profile in Lesotho. You can be assured that he is a strong supporter of raising standards of literacy in Lesotho and for the Lesotho people to take advantage of the opportunities projects such as Books for Lesotho provides.

meeting patron

VISITS TO SCHOOLS

David and Liz visited several schools and organisations during their visit. In the north it was two of the schools supported by Maliba Lodge through the Maliba Community Development Trust. Discussions revealed the need for training for teachers on how to establish a school library and how to use the books to complement the official school syllabus, together with the provision of bookshelves to support the libraries. Both topics are the subject of discussions on what is needed and how to raise the necessary funds.

For more images click here.

In Maseru we visited Safate sa Bophelo English Medium School (you will find video images of Principal Manthatiso describing the value of the books to the students and teachers and see the books on shelves in the current library) and St Camillus Centre for orphans and vulnerable children near Mohales Hoek.

There are examples of excellent use of the library books which we hope will encourage other schools to make use of the opportunity the books provide. However, a training course for teachers remains a significant need.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN LESOTHO

Discussions were held with TRC by way of review of 10 years of operations and “what of the future?” A meeting with the Rotary Club of Maloti explored the possibility of developing another distribution partnership. We will report the outcomes in due course.

AND IN AUSTRALIA …

We are pleased to announce that we have a new home at The Barn, Pasadena High School. (Pasadena is an inner-southern suburb of Adelaide). Here we receive books, sort and pack them into boxes, and then load them onto pallets ready for the long journey to Lesotho.

The Barn is open to receive books every Wednesday from 9.30 am until noon. Please deliver your books here or visit to learn about the operation and the ways that you can help.

Fund Raising for the 2017 Shipment which might develop into additional “Shipments”!!

Your financial contribution is needed. We invite you to donate now. Donations of $2 or more may be claimed as a tax-deduction.

Sincerely,

The Books for Lesotho Board

Captain Dennis Krieg

DennisTwo of our Board members, Liz and David Linn, recently returned from Lesotho, where the 10th annual book distribution was taking place.

When David told one of the flight attendants on the flight to Johannesburg that the main purpose of the trip was to visit Lesotho, he suggested a discussion with the Captain, Dennis Krieg. David met him while both wandered the plane and had a very long talk about their respective humanitarian projects. Dennis was gobsmacked to discover an organisation that sends books to Lesotho, as a kind friend had left him with over 3,000 children’s books for which he had no home. Now he has one, Books for Lesotho Inc.! Dennis was kind enough to invite David and Liz to travel to the poorest parts of Soweto to meet some of the people he is supporting to change their circumstances, and to meet some of the local people who are working for change, together with visiting some of the related projects. Five hours of sharing with people while walking the “streets” and walkways of Kliptown was inspiring and tiring. It was an amazing chance connection resulting in a rewrite of the day’s activities; new friends and more support for Books for Lesotho. Thanks Dennis.

Moving premises!

Today an incredible team of volunteers helped us to move out of our old premises at OK Psychology and into our new space in The Barn at Pasadena High School. Thanks so much to everyone who helped out and allowed the move to happen so quickly!

out of 129into the barn

Woodcroft Primary School

woodcroft-primary-school

“In this wonderful global world that we live in, we really need to have our eye out for our neighbour and see how we can best help and serve them. Thinking that we’re not using our books in our school community, what a more of a wonderful thing to help others who really need the help and can learn and develop in their communities. It’s a real honour to give these books over where they’ll be well loved and used as we’ve loved and used them.” – Lisa Grieger, librarian

 

Newsletter #7, January 2017

READING, “THE NEW CIVIL RIGHT”

We quote George W. Bush: “My friend Phyllis Hunter of Houston, Texas, calls reading the new civil right. Equality in our country will remain a distant dream until every child, of every background, learns so that he or she may strive to rise in this world. No child in America should be segregated by low expectations, imprisoned by illiteracy, abandoned to frustration and the darkness of self-doubt.” (With thanks to Noel Pearson writing in The Australian (newspaper), 10-11 December 2016)

Books for Lesotho Inc. is helping children in the Kingdom of Lesotho join with others in the world who have access to books to read – “A basic human right” (Noel Pearson, as above).

Since forming in December 2015, Books for Lesotho Inc. has achieved great things including shipping 13,272 books to Lesotho which brought the total since the project commenced to 102,189 books!

HOW HAS THIS BEEN ACHIEVED?

With the help of many people and organisations.

The list of schools (now from SA, VIC and NSW) which have contributed books is now too long to keep the list going here (and we are afraid of missing some!). One standout contribution has been through Sandra, who with the help of others from Bundoora Secondary College in Melbourne, delivered 19 boxes of books ready packed to go! Sandra reported, “We have completed boxing up all the books! Big job!” and “We are so glad we were able to send our books to where they will be of some benefit.” They are shown here, loaded and ready to deliver to our friend Chris McEvoy in Melbourne, for freighting to Adelaide.

bundoora

Chris, of Preschem (Australia) Pty Ltd, is a huge supporter of Lesotho and we are pleased to be working with him to develop our presence in Victoria and, most importantly, helping children in northern Lesotho.

The following organisations have made significant contributions this year either cash or in-kind. There are individuals who have made significant financial contributions which we appreciate, but we also know the smaller amounts all add up!

  • South Pacific School Aid Inc. (a major source of books, human packing resources and shipping arrangements)
  • Mitcham Exercise Group
  • Colonel Light Books
  • Blackwood Book Exchange
  • East Avenue Books
  • Westminster School Fair
  • Mitcham Rotary Bookshop
  • Mitcham Library Service
  • Optimistic Kids
  • Mitcham Motor Garage
  • We Are Robots
  • Norcrest Insurance Agencies
  • Rudi Botha, Beach Bush Berg, Durban South Africa
  • Transformation Resource Centre, Maseru, Lesotho (proponents and managers of the project in-country)

logos-compiled

LESOTHO CHILD COUNSELLING UNIT

Books for Lesotho has helped (in association with Transformation Resource Centre) many schools and organisations (working with children) including Lesotho Child Counselling Unit in Mazenod.

Here is an image of founder, Lydia, and “her children” shopping in Maseru Mall.

lesotho-child-councilling-unit

Lydia writes, “We were doing Christmas shopping at Maseru Mall, that’s why we were so excited. Remember to some of us this was the very first experience of going out to choose what we want for Christmas.”

YOUR DONATIONS

During 2016 you have donated $8,720.20 (including $1,007.50 from Mitcham Exercise Group – $882 last year!). What an amazing result.

This income covers our budgeted expenditure for the 2016 shipment and basic operating costs. We shipped 13,272 books on 7 pallets. Total over 10 years = 102,189 books!

We are expecting to expand during 2017. The book target will not be determined until March. Until then, our fundraising target is $7,500.

Donors are able to claim their contributions of $2 or more as a tax-deduction. Using the link to the right, you can donate on-line using a credit/debit card for payment of either a single donation or regular monthly donations.

For other options to donate, please email us for instructions.

Sincerely,

The Books for Lesotho Board