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Mthunzi Library groundbreaking celebration

Groundbreaking for the Mthunzi Library!

“The Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library, funded by American Schools and Hospitals Abroad and U.S. citizen Judie Feedham, will offer new opportunities to the 20,000 youth in the communities surrounding the Mthunzi Center. It will be a place where children can improve their literacy, learn to use computers and other innovative technologies, and participate in a wide range of programs that foster creativity, self-expression, and children's rights.”-U.S. Ambassador H.E. Mr. Eric T. Schultz

On November 23rd we celebrated the start of construction for the fourth Lubuto library with a groundbreaking event. The library will be located in Lusaka West on the grounds of its host organization, the Mthunzi Centre, a key community resource organization that offers shelter, food, education, vocational training, sports and recreation and health services and counseling. The Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library is our first library funded by USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program. U.S. citizen Judie Feedham has provided the complementary financing that will bring the library facility to life.

Malama Mazaba, Director of the Mthunzi Centre, welcomed guests and served as the master of ceremonies for the event, and the special guest was Ambassador Eric Schultz. The Ambassador was pleased to note that the Mthunzi Library will create a stimulating, supportive and safe environment for children in need to reach their full potential, stating that “we have a shared vision where all children in Zambia realize their right to a quality education.”

The event featured other engaging speakers and Lubuto library supporters. Mr. Kamutumwa, Director of Teacher Education and Specialized Services (TESS), spoke on the impact that the library will have in Lusaka West, declaring that “Zambia’s social and intellectual development is dependent on the inclusion of all members of society.” Velenasi Musanji, President of the Library and Information Association Zambia (LIAZ), spoke of the importance of libraries for children in Zambia, asserting that “children who read become adults who think.” Lubuto Advisory Board member Mark O’Donnell outlined how the Lubuto model ensures community ownership of the libraries and thus effectively addresses community needs. Lubuto Training Librarian Elizabeth Giles shared a message from Jane Meyers discussing the role that public libraries can have in Zambia and thanking our supporters.

“Zambia's population is exploding—children and youth are already a high percentage of the overall population, and Zambia's future will only see that percentage grow. The need for library services for children and youth will be overwhelming, and Zambia will need as many of these open-access public libraries as possible.”-Advisory Board member Mark O’Donnell

Other prominent guests included Robinson Bwato of the Zambia Library Service (ZLS), Lubuto Advisory Board member Mulenga Kapwepwe, and USAID representatives Michael Yates and Yvonne Naluvwi-Chomba. Of course, Lubuto’s most honored guests are always the young people we serve, and more than 80 community children—who are very eager to use the new library and its resources—were present. A highlight of the event was traditional dance and drumming performances by Mthunzi children.

Capping off the ceremony, Ambassador Schultz broke ground for the library’s Reading Room—and other guests assisted the Ambassador with the shoveling (at which, it was noted, he was quite adept). He requested a tour of the Mthunzi Centre after the groundbreaking ceremony to learn more about what the organization does and the people it serves. Enthusiasm for the fourth Lubuto library is palpable, and Lubuto, Mthunzi and the entire community are most grateful to ASHA and Judie Feedham.

“Public libraries in the United States provide people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities with unlimited possibilities. As community anchors, libraries touch people’s lives in profound ways and nurture the values that sustain a democratic nation. With ASHA’s support, this library will serve and transform a young Zambian population—with an inclusive focus on girls and those who are marginalized —spreading shared American and Zambian ideals and mutual understanding to tens of thousands of young people in the community, which will be multiplied through future generations.”- Jane Meyers

Check out our 2014 annual report!

Our 2014 annual report focuses on the diverse partnerships that are largely responsible for our success—and will help ensure Lubuto’s sustainability and continued relevance. You can look through the report by clicking on this link.

Lubuto's Decade of Success

"What I find most inspiring about Lubuto is that children who have lived their lives in the margins suddenly find themselves at the centre – and learn that they deserve to be there."
—Stacy Langner, Lubuto's first Regional Director

Since our founding in 2005, Lubuto libraries have had over 500,000 visits from Zambian children and youth and each year some 30,000 new visitors are introduced to the book collections, interact with staff and participate in Lubuto programs. The immediate impact of Lubuto's books and programs in the arts, drama, mentoring, computer literacy, and outreach to vulnerable children in Zambia is felt upon the first visit to any of the libraries and is realized as the first Lubuto kids are now young adults. Lubuto's success in establishing safe havens for children to experience open access public library services and in partnering with local governments and communities to ensure sustainability has now become a model for the region.

2005 Shining a Beacon of Hope

"Lubuto Libraries will provide an opening into the world, making available education and information and, most importantly, giving children hope by offering them a window from which to look at a great big world outside."
—Carmen Martinez, former U.S. Ambassador to Zambia

2006 Breaking Ground

2007 Bringing Enlightenment

2008 Developing Partnerships

2009 Expanding Programs

2010 Celebrating Lubuto

2011 Cultivating Talent

2012 Attracting Funders

2013 Expanding the Model

2014 Growing Rapidly

"As Chief Monze said: 'I have never seen anything like this'. His words were echoed by many people and Government Officials who attended the ceremonial opening of the Mumuni Library, for it was the first event of its kind in the history of rural Zambia."
—Mark C. Chona, Chairman, Matantala Rural Integrated Development Enterprise and Member of Lubuto's Advisory Board

2015 Maintaining Momentum


American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) grant for fourth and fifth Lubuto libraries

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