GOOD NEWS - APRIL 2020
The communities supporting Elizabeth's Library in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi are anxiously awaiting for their libraries to open as soon as travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus are lifted. These libraries are vital assets with educational materials, puzzles, games and books that otherwise would not be available in their communities or local schools. Internet shopping is not an option, so our mobile library programs are a huge blessing.
One of Lana Lynn's ( ELI Director) favorite picture and story from the July 2019 team trip shows her visit to a Zambian school that is served by the Susu mobile library program. As the ELI team arrived, the school children sang their welcome songs as the teachers came to personally meet them. The teacher shown in the picture with Lana took her hand and immediately shared how she and the students were benefiting from this program. Art studies had recently been introduced into the Zambian school curriculum, but teaching texts were not available. When the Susu mobile library brought a new collection of books to the school, it included the needed Art textbook. This book became the resource for the school's art studies.
Our recent FB posts have highlighted our mission, to establish libraries, start literacy programs, and support educational opportunities, impacting three different lives. These illustrations reveal the difference made when communities have access to libraries and literacy, so we want to share them with our mailchimp followers.
Tiwonge's Story Two year old Tiwonge Rebecca is one of the very young readers in Africa enjoying the books found in the ELI community libraries. Her father reports that he is asked to read Tiwonge her favorite book every day at least once, and of course she knows every word and sound. Her enthusiasm and delight are obvious. • • • Tiwonge is only one of the many children who now have access to books and other educational resources such as games and puzzles in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and soon Malawi. ELI is working hard to develop a culture of literacy and reading for the new generation of children - “A world of discovery, imagination, and information." ( Pam Allyn)
At the age of 39, Theresa found herself in a Malawi village widowed, illiterate, and without skills to provide a living for herself or her family. Sadly, this is not an uncommon story, many widows in Africa share Theresa's plight.
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Theresa was fortunate to find a job as a cleaner at a local school. Recognizing that without the ability to read and write, her options to earn a living would be limited. Not able to find a literacy class that she could afford, she asked to be a student in the school - joining the primary school class of 5 and 6 year old children.
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Many adults in the community laughed at Theresa, but she was determined to learn. She passed three levels, and proudly ranked number 3 out of 35 upon graduating from Standard 3. At the graduation ceremony, she stunned the audience by standing and speaking, " Many of you laugh at me, but I am determined to learn. I can already read many children's books from the library, and now I want to encourage my fellow widows and other women to also learn to read and write. I am waiting for the library to re-open and the new literacy class to begin." At the end of the ceremony, it was Theresa, who gave the closing prayer.
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The importance of literacy for an individual and a community has been recognized by ELI from the beginning of our ministry, and each library project is asked to begin an adult literacy class as soon as possible. The community response in each location has been overwhelming. Susu Village, Zambia has a growing class and the mobile library program has provided resources to two other villages. There are already 25 adults now registered for the adult literacy class that will be offered at the ELI Library in Malawi when the government lifts the travel ban.
Ten years ago Kathrine became a widow without any education or marketable skills to care for herself or her four young children. Kathrine looked for work everywhere, but there were many days that the family went to bed hungry. Finally Kathrine found a job as the cook at a small school. Preparing big pots of porridge daily was a tough job for this tiny woman, but she was determined to provide for her family in any way that she could.
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An adult literacy class was held at this school and after feeding a hundred students, Kathrine joined the group herself and became an avid learner. Her innate intelligence soon became obvious and within a few months she was able to read novels and help the other women with their lessons. When she didn't know the meaning of a word, she would use the dictionary found in Elizabeth's Library. Katherine has an insatiable hunger to learn, and she soon was able to pass the equivalent of an American GED diploma. She then put her efforts into gaining computer skills, which led to becoming a teacher's assistant in an elementary class. But Katherine’s real dream was to be the director of a pre-school. It was truly a joy for Elizabeth's Library International to grant a scholarship to Kathrine to earn her Early Childhood Development Certificate. Katherine has known the challenge of raising four children as a single mother while working, and putting herself through school, but with prayer and determination, Kathrine graduated with honors.
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Katherine opened her little pre-school with one student, a little girl named Miracle. The community watched as Miracle blossomed under Kathrine's care, and soon other parents asked Kathrine to teach their children. When more students enrolled in her school it was time to find a small facility. She asked for ideas for the school's name, and an ELI Board member suggested, " Small Beginnings with Jesus." Before the country's government closed the schools due to the pandemic, Small Beginnings with Jesus had 27 children enrolled. Two of these young pre-schoolers were orphans, therefore without the possibility of attending a regular school. Another child in her school has Down's Syndrome, whom she first met when visiting a home in the community. There are many precious little children in this pre- school, and more will enroll when the school resumes!
Susu Village Goat Project update
ELI is thrilled to announce the birth of twin baby goats Joy and Thanksgiving. In this time of limited resources all over the world, we are so thankful for new life. While the Zambian government has temporarily closed the school and library, construction of the goat milking barn continues and the villagers tend the growing crops. These are invaluable assets for this impoverished village and cover an extensive amount of land. It was decided that a guard dog was needed to help patrol the grounds and alert the caretaker to any intruders or dangers. We give thanks to generous ELI donors who funded the purchase of a six week old Boer puppy, named Watchman. Susu village acknowledge's God's hand in all these blessings by giving each new baby goat a Biblical name and remembering the Biblical times when a watchman was stationed on the walls of the city to sound the warning of danger. Welcome little Watchman - you have a great responsibility!