A Voice, Brains And Books

Posted in the book box



A Voice, Brains And Books

Dolly Parton, C.S. Lewis and Nelson Mandela had one thing in common. Rather diverse characters I’d say, but, for their love of Children, Books, stories and getting children to read.

I firmly believe that our saving grace is education. To read must be the greatest gift one can bestow upon a child.  "We read to know we are not alone." —C.S. Lewis

On a recent visit to Vietnam we were privileged to spend a few hours in the company of four tiny children in a very remote part of Northern Vietnam. The Minority tribe called the Black Mong. These children are the very first generation to receive an education. Their enthusiasm and hunger to learn was astonishing.

They couldn’t speak English. With difficulty I asked whether they had toys, they did. With pride it was produced. ONE BOOK. An American English Primary school book, circa 1972. They clambered all over me prodding me to read. Their eyes lit up as I started reading, it was pure magic. The fact that they couldn’t understand a single word was beside the point.  The joy these children had was priceless.  They owned a book!

The book was totally irrelevant to their lives. The dialog went something like this “John says “we are going on vacation”, Mother, “John bring the suitcases”, Father “I will pack the motorcar while Jane fetches Chester!” “Goodbye says John” etc.

Early one morning last week while travelling to Hermanus I saw children, small ones, big ones, young ones and tiny ones, all dressed to the nines in their new school uniforms walking miles to get to school. These happy, laughing, cheerful children were farm workers children who go to local farm schools. How to keep the smile on their faces and the hunger to learn burning for 12 years is a big question. Many of these children come from the poorest families, who endure the hardest lives, some witness and suffer abuse, hunger and neglect on a daily basis.  Many are encouraged to learn but have little or no resources to do so.  Going to school not only benefits the child but the whole family's future could change.

Dolly Parton is celebrating her 70th Birthday and released a short YouTube clip telling about her book project. Inspired by her illiterate father she started a Foundation that gifts every child born in that state with 60 books, one each month for 5 years. Amazing. Of course nothing stays small and the project has spread to many states, countries and even continents.



This got a friend in Australia thinking which inspired someone else to put her thinking cap on. Can’t we do something like that too? Of course it would have to be on a much smaller scale. Baby steps!

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." —Victor Hugo

My thoughts are:
• Good second hand children’s books
• New books bought online and dispatched to the postal address provided
• Monetary donations paid into a Trust account for buying books
• Have a book buddy (a child/adult could sponsor a child’s books)
• Books are gifted to small schools e.g. farm schools in our district, day care centres, Pre-Primary           schools.      
• Have various Book Boxes in Worcester where books can be deposited

Children would be:
• Aged 4-7
• Multi-Cultural: Indian, Muslim, Xhosa, Zimbabwean, Malawi, English, Afrikaans
• Home languages: English, Afrikaans, Xhosa


Books should be:
• Age appropriate (3-7), but let's not be fussy.
• Multi-lingual (we have 11 official languages)
• Multi-cultural
• In excellent condition

"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope." —Kofi Annan

Many of us have been privileged to have many books, many learning aids and the best education available. We were the lucky ones. There are thousands of South African children who have nothing. Let’s open a world of stories to them.  So I'm throwing my bread on the water, let's see what happens.

CONTACT:
Email: maricha@mtb.co.za with ideas and suggestions, also if you’d like to get involved.

If you have previously loved books, or would like to purchase a new book online from one of the numerous online stores please do so.  Remember the weak Rand and the bargains available at book sales!  (just saying)

POST TO:

THE BOOK BOX
P.O. Box 1540
WORCESTER
6849 SOUTH AFRICA

OR

DELIVER TO: (Courier services are excellent. reliable and prompt)

THE BOOK BOX
C/O Muller, Terblanche & Beyers,
66, Church Street,
Worcester
6850 SOUTH AFRICA

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD BY FORWARDING THIS BLOG. WE COULD CHANGE A CHILD'S FUTURE, AND OUR COUNTRY'S.  YOU WILL MEAN THE WORLD TO A CHILD BY OPENING HIS MIND TO STORIES, WORDS AND KNOWLEDGE.

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."
— Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa


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