Finding new ways to engage Zambia's vulnerable Youth

I am currently on my Christmas/New Year break but just wanted to write an update of a couple of the things that have been happening in the Fountain of Hope Lubuto Library over the last month or so. The library has been fairly quiet recently as it is the school holidays and many of the kids go away on vacation (some seem to go and stay with family members who literally live across the road, but others go further afield!). However there are some youngsters who we only see when they come to the area to visit their family during the vacations, so it is nice to welcome them back.

We have been trying to offer a variety of activities to entice people in, and encourage them to stay during the low period. One of the most popular has been a screening of the video of the LubutoDrama performance. In fact it was so popular that I had to show it 6 or 7 times in one afternoon so that friends and family members could be called in to see! It was lovely to see the looks on the faces of the kids who took part in the performance as they saw themselves on screen, and there was much clapping, patting on the back, and singing along from everyone!

We have also screened a couple of movies which have a literary connection (e.g. "Charlotte's Web") and are hoping that this will encourage the older kids to start reading the longer books in our collection.

When Jane Meyers visited us last month, she brought a collection of soccer magazines which has proved incredibly popular! We are encouraging some of the better readers to move on to longer books about football.


I discovered recently that several of the younger children who come into the library have big problems with spelling words - and even in some cases recognising letters. If I give them some letter cards and ask them to spell a word, they can do so correctly because they can see the letters; but if I ask them to verbally spell a word for me, they will get confused because they don't know the names of the letters. So I have been trying to find ways to rectify this without the kids feeling that I am pressuring them. When my sister visited in September she brought me the card game Boggle Slam, so I have been using the letter cards from that game to get the kids to spell words, do simple anagrams, say which letter is missing from various words, etc etc. They seem to be enjoying it and (I hope) their spelling is gradually improving!