Etoys training workshop for All Children Reading LubutoLiteracy project
In January's newsletter we wrote about Christoph Derndorfer's OLPC repair and maintenance workshop, our first formal activity under our All Children Reading grant from World Vision. It was followed in late February by a workshop to further the Etoys programming skills of the team that will work, under the ACR grant, to improve the existing set of 700 LubutoLiteracy lessons. This workshop was facilitated by Lubuto's OLPC/Etoys liaison and advisor Mike Lee.
Mike was very impressed with how our very talented youth mastered the advanced Etoys programming skills imparted in the workshop, as well as more advanced topics such as animation, audio production, scripting interactivity and other skills they will need to improve the quality and impact of the 700 mother tongue reading lessons. They also discussed ideas for enhancing the lessons, weighing pros and cons of each. By giving them shortcuts and ensuring they were connected with online support from Etoys developers worldwide, Mike left the team well prepared to carry out the work of the ACR grant.
The workshop was greatly enjoyed by all participants. The little girl whose photo is at the top of this newsletter was persistent in wanting to join them and "play laptops." Because such sharing is a two-way street, Mike and Christoph have also educated the broader OLPC and Etoys communities about what Lubuto's youth can do! Both OLPC and the Squeakland (Etoys) Foundation have pledged to offer ongoing consultation.
A slideshow of highlights from both workshops is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lubutolibraryproject/sets/72157632916932618/show
Reaching out to girls who live and work on the streets
We have begun weekly outreach to extremely vulnerable girls at a residential center in Lusaka called Vision of Hope. The outreach team, which includes our librarian Nikki Packer, focuses on engaging the girls in LubutoStorytime and LubutoMentoring program activities. Nikki writes that, although she had encountered girls on street visits before, she was unprepared for the degree of vulnerability of these young women. "Several of them are only teenagers but have one or two small children to care for. Some of the girls are under legal protection due to abuse cases and cannot leave the grounds of the centre for fear of being attacked. Although, like all the children we meet in the Lubuto Libraries, they put on a smile, it is clear that these girls have suffered some terrible traumas. They can be shy and are sometimes slow to contribute verbally to the sessions, but they are obviously listening intently."
Nikki wrote in detail about these girls, and will continue to, in our blog (http://lubutoblog.wordpress.com/). If you are interested to see how important great books, brought by caring people, can be to girls in such dire circumstances, please read it! While we would like for the girls to eventually be able to come to our libraries, the police do not allow some of them to leave the VOH residential facility, so for now we will continue to visit them and gain their (and the police's) trust. We are so grateful for the opportunity to bring some brightness to those girls' lives!
Furthering our partnership with the Zambia Library Service
Nikki has also begun working out of Lubuto's office at the headquarters of the Zambia Library Service, with the major purpose of furthering our planning with them for building Lubuto Libraries with ZLS libraries throughout Zambia. She and Eleni have developed an action plan for 2013 with Robinson Bwato, the head of ZLS, and oon both sides of the ZLS-LLP partnership we are eager to move forward and extend excellent library services to young people all around the country.
Meet the Lubuto community: Beauty
Beauty, aged 12, comes to the Ngwerere Lubuto Library every day and takes part in all of the library's programs. She says that her first visit to the library began a process of change within her because she was able to learn valuable life lessons. For example, through some of the stories which she performed in the LubutoDrama program, she says she learned not to dress provocatively and to carry herself like a lady. Beauty stays with her aunt because her parents are divorced and she sees the Lubuto Library as an important positive influence in her life: "I want to say thanks to the people who brought the library here. They are the ones who made me who I am today."
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