Lubuto Drama

LubutoDrama as effective reading promotion

We weren’t at all surprised when some participants in our ever-popular LubutoDrama program won the top honors at a recent festival of Barefeet Theatre, a local organization that works with vulnerable youth through drama. Lubuto originally partnered with Barefeet to design the LubutoDrama approach to developing a script, creating costumes and preparing youth for performances. What distinguishes LubutoDrama is how the program is integrated with the libraries, their book collections and outreach efforts. The plays are based on outstanding books from the collection, and the scripts are developed through reading and analysis of the stories. Plays are performed in the libraries’ large outdoor performance spaces with sometimes hundreds of community members attending. So the whole community benefits, and most importantly, children and youth watching the performances are directly inspired to read books in the libraries and/or get involved in the libraries’ programs.

At the end of a LubutoDrama performance, library staff introduces the book on which the play was based, which has proven to be an extraordinarily effective way to promote reading. This approach was inspired by the comment of a young member of the audience of a LubutoDrama performance who told a Lubuto librarian how much she loved the story and was delighted to be told that she could read it in the library - an offer she dashed into the library to immediately accept!

News of performances spreads like wildfire through Lubuto Libraries’ surrounding communities. Enjoyment of the performances, in turn, has more and more young people flocking to the libraries every day!

A safety net for Daniel

Daniel is a 13 year old "regular" at the Ngwerere library. We knew he was a double orphan living with his grandmother through data we gather on library program participants, and he has been very involved with three of them: LubutoMentoring, LubutoDrama and LubutoLiteracy. Like so many who find a second home in a Lubuto library, the library became such a central place in his life that he regularly volunteered to shelve books and keep the collection in order.

Recently Stephen, one of the staff at Ngwerere, walked home with Daniel at day’s end to keep him company. Daniel seemed nervous on the walk and finally confessed to Stephen that he had been living on his own in his house. His grandmother had recently remarried and moved away to a rural area. Daniel was left behind; alone, hungry and afraid. New tenants would soon be moving into the house forcing Daniel out to fend for himself. Stephen found Daniel a temporary home for that night with his step-father.

The next day we connected Daniel to Kenny Hau, who guides outreach for Lubuto libraries at the Fountain of Hope shelter. He is staying there for now and continues to find a refuge at Fountain of Hope’s Lubuto Library. He says it is his favorite place to be. Our next step is finding a scholarship for Daniel so he can continue attending school. Daniel is not alone anymore; he has his Lubuto family looking out for him.

OSISA Expands Lubuto Funding with Comic Relief

Lubuto Wins USAID Contest for Innovative Literacy Solutions

All Children Reading

We are thrilled to announce that a Lubuto innovation is among 32 winners of an All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development grant, made possible through the generous support of the All Children Reading Founding Partners: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Agency for International Development. The competition to create innovative solutions to improve early grade reading in the developing world elicited more than 450 submissions from more than 75 countries. Lubuto's winning proposal, "LubutoLiteracy: Zambian teaching and learning materials for the digital age," is funded by World Vision.Please see our press release for more details on this exciting project.

The Lubuto Library Project team joined other winners to showcase their innovation at a DevelopmentXChange session on September 7, 2013 at USAID headquarters and uniquely highlighted the role that libraries play as "technology incubators."

Lubuto was also an invited participant and panelist at a Global Reading Materials Depository Ideation Meeting sponsored by USAID and co-hosted by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development and the U.S. Library of Congress on March 17-18, 2014. The meeting was organized to explore the need for, the possible development of, and next steps toward the creation of a digital collection(s) of early grade reading materials. The primary objective of such a repository of early grade reading materials would be to improve access, particularly to local language reading materials, for early grade school children in developing countries.

The Lubuto Library Project

Lubuto is a word in the Bemba language, spoken in central Africa, that signifies knowledge, enlightenment and light.

The Lubuto project creates high quality, open-access libraries to serve Africa's street kids and other vulnerable children and youth. The library provides a safe haven and an opening to the world beyond the bleak streets. Lubuto offers educational services and the simple pleasure of books and the arts for children who find themselves alone in the world. Giving the burgeoning numbers of street children the chances they deserve to develop their imaginations and to realize their potential is Lubuto’s challenge.

photo of new library

Lubuto’s highly professional organization, in the US and Zambia, does not work as an isolated charity. The sustainability of its program is ensured through partnership with government, community-based organizations, and professional groups, and Lubuto libraries are owned and run by Zambians.

Read more about Lubuto Libraries.


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